Mindfulness-Based Medical Practice: Exploring the Link between Self-Compassion and Wellness
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Objectives: In light of the detrimental impact of burnout upon clinicians and their patients, the identification of means through which the well-being of health care professionals can be fostered and protected is timely and important. The present study explored outcomes associated with participation in Mindfulness-Based Medical Practice (MBMP), a program modeled after Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction which included additional mindful communication exercises to foster the integration of mindfulness in various clinical settings.
Methods: Physicians, nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists, and social workers enrolled in the 8-week MBMP program. Participants (N = 110) between the age of 24 and 82 years (M = 46.5, SD = 11.4: 73% women) completed self-report measures prior to and following the program; the Maslach Burnout Inventory, Perceived Stress Scale-10 and the Ryff Scales of Psychological Well-Being. Two process measures designed to capture mechanisms of change were administered: the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, and the Neff Self-Compassion Scale.
Results: Results from paired-sample t-tests indicated that health care professionals enrolled in MBMP can benefit from the program. Analyses demonstrated significant decreases upon measures of perceived stress [p= .000], emotional exhaustion [p= .000], depersonalization [p= .000], and an increase in personal accomplishment [p= .000] as well as mindfulness [p=.000], self-compassion [p= .000], and well-being [p= .000]. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that change scores on perceived stress (Beta = -1.46, p LT 0.000) and self-compassion (Beta = 9.02, p LT 0.006) predicted changes in well-being in this sample. Additionally, participants rate perceived importance of having taken part in the course using a Likert-scale from 1-10 (M=8.5, SD = 1.51).
Conclusions: This study suggests that for health care professionals enrolled in MBMP may experience a variety of benefits associated with participation in the program. Further, increases in self-compassion may hold particular implications for well-being in this population.
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