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20-10-2018 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 2/2020 Open Access

Mindfulness 2/2020

The Unilever Study: Positive Effects on Stress and Risk for Dropout from Work after the Finding Peace in a Frantic World Training

Mindfulness > Uitgave 2/2020
Esther I. de Bruin, Rachel T. van der Meulen, Jorien de Wandeler, Bonne J. H. Zijlstra, Anne R. Formsma, Susan M. Bögels
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s12671-018-1029-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


Organizations are confronted with a constant need for efficiency, which affects the working atmosphere, often typified by velocity, time pressure, competition, job insecurity, and information overload, which may lead to stress, burnout, work-life disbalance, and lowered work functioning. This study evaluated an 8-week, 1.5 h-per-week group-based standardized mindfulness program (“Finding peace in a frantic world”), applied on-site in a large multinational company. In a naturalistic longitudinal design self-selected employees (n = 150) completed measurements at wait-list, pre-test, post-test, and 2 and 6 months follow-up. Nearly all participants followed at least five out of eight sessions, were highly satisfied with the training (8.3 out 10), and almost 90% intended to continue with mindfulness practices. Primary outcomes were stress and risk for dropout from work. Using multilevel analyses, mean pre-test scores were compared to the other measurement occasions, and the rate of change in the training period (M = 67 days; SD = 12) was compared to the rate of change in the wait-list period (M = 29 days; SD = 8). Direct and long-term positive effects on risk for dropout from work (p < .001; effect size (ES) = 0.67, 0.73, and 0.88, respectively) and stress (p < .001; ES = 0.72, 0.86, and 1.02, respectively) were found. The risk for dropout from work declined from 54.4% at wait-list (45.8% at pre-test) to 16.4% at 6 months follow-up, and declined significantly faster (p < .001) during the training than during the wait-list period, but stress did not. In addition, positive effects on secondary measures of psychological well-being and functioning at work were found. In conclusion, a standardized mindfulness training in a multinational company reduces stress and risk for dropout and improves well-being and functioning at work, also in the long term, but a comparison of the training against alternative stress-reducing interventions is needed.

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