Self-administered mindfulness interventions reduce stress in a large, randomized controlled multi-site study

Alessandro Sparacio*, Hans Ijzerman*, Ivan Ropovik*, Filippo Giorgin, Christoph Spiessens, Bert N. Uchino, Joshua Landvatter, Tracey Tacana, Sandra J. Diller, Joahana Segundo, Jace D. Pierce, Robert M. Ross, Zoë Francis, Amanda LaBoucane, Christine Ma-Kellams, Maire B. Ford, Kathleen Schmidt, Celia C. Wong, Wendy C. Higgins, Bryant M. StoneSamantha K. Stanley, Gianni Ribeiro, Paul T. Fuglestad, Valerie Jaklin, Andrea Kübler, Philipp Ziebell, Crystal L. Jewell, Yulia Kovas, Mahnoosh Allahghadri, Charlotte Fransham, Michael F Baranski, Hannah Burgess, Annika B. E. Benz, Maysa DeSousa, Catherine E. Nylin, Janae C. Brooks, Caitlyn M. Goldsmith, Jessica M. Benson, Siobhán M. Griffin, Stephen Dunne, William E. Davis, Tam J. Watermeyer, William B. Meese, Jennifer L. Howell, Laurel Standiford Reyes, Megan G. Strickland, Sally S. Dickerson, Samantha Pescatore, Shayna Skakoon-Sparling, Zachary I. Wunder, Martin V. Day, Shawna Brenton, Audrey H. Linden, Christopher E. Hawk, Léan V. O’Brien, Tenzin Urgyen, Jennifer S. McDonald, Kim Lien van der Schans, Heidi Blocker, Gabriela M. Jiga-Boy*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Mindfulness, a form of meditation centered on present-moment awareness, witnessed a significant popularity surge in the past decade, especially as digitally self-administered interventions became available at relatively low costs. Yet, it is uncertain whether they effectively help reduce stress. In a pre-registered multi-site study (Nsites = 37, Nparticipants = 2,239, 70.4% women, Mage = 22.4, SDage = 10.1, all fluent English speakers) we experimentally tested whether four single, stand-alone mindfulness exercises versus one active control condition effectively reduced stress, using Bayesian mixed-effects models. All exercises proved to be more efficacious than the active control. We observed a mean difference of .27 between the control condition (M = 1.95, SD = 0.50) and the condition with the largest stress reduction (i.e., Body Scan: M = 1.68, SD = 0.46). Our findings suggest that mindfulness may be beneficial for reducing self-reported short-term stress for English speakers from higher-income countries.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Human Behaviour
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 18 Mar 2024

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