The effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction for school teachers: a cluster-randomized controlled trial

Emilie H Bonde*, Lone O Fjorback, Morten Frydenberg, Lise Juul

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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BACKGROUND: Teaching has been found to be one of the most stressful occupations. Hence, current interest in reducing stress and enhancing the well-being of teachers is strong. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is documented to be effective in reducing stress and increasing well-being. This study investigated the effectiveness of delivering MBSR to lower secondary school teachers as a part of a teacher-training programme.

METHODS: This study was a nested trial within the parallel cluster-randomized controlled trial, Stress-free Everyday LiFe for Children and Adolescents REsearch (SELFCARE). Schools were recruited from all five geographical regions in Denmark between May 2018 and May 2019. One to three teachers from each school were allowed to participate. At baseline, 110 schools, representing 191 lower secondary school teachers, were cluster-randomized to intervention or a wait-list control group. The intervention group received MBSR during 2019 and the wait-list control group during 2020. Data were collected at baseline and after 3 and 6 months. The primary outcome was measured by Cohen's Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Data were analyzed using a mixed-effect linear regression model and bootstrapped for cluster effects.

RESULTS: At 3 months, the intervention group statistically significantly reduced their PSS score 1.7 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.04-3.3] points more than did the wait-list control group. At 6 months, the intervention group had statistically significantly reduced their mean PSS score 2.1 (95% CI: 0.5-3.8) points more than the wait-list control group.

CONCLUSION: It is possible to reduce perceived stress among lower secondary school teachers by delivering MBSR as part of a teacher-training programme.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Pages (from-to)246-253
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Mindfulness
  • School Teachers
  • Schools
  • Stress, Psychological/prevention & control
  • Waiting Lists


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