Examining the effects of a mindfulness-based professional training module on mindfulness, perceived stress, self-compassion and self-determination

S Whitesman, R Mash


Background. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have been shown to be effective in a wide range of health-related problems. Teaching and research with regard to MBIs have largely been conducted in the USA and Europe. The development of teachers of MBIs requires that they embody the practice of mindfulness and acquire pedagogical competencies. Stellenbosch University and the Institute for Mindfulness South Africa have launched a new and innovative training programme consisting of 4 modules, with a blend of residential retreats and e-learning. Internationally, this is the first study that specifically investigates the effects of mindfulness on the mental state of health professionals being trained to teach MBIs in their clinical practice.
Objectives. To evaluate the first 9-week module in terms of its effect on mindfulness practice, self-determination, self-compassion and perception of stress.
Methods. This is a before-and-after study of 23 participants, using 4 validated tools: Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills, Self-Determination Scale, Self-Compassion Scale, Perceived Stress Scale.
Results. There were significantly increased scores (p<0.05) for all 4 aspects of mindfulness practice (observing, describing, acting with awareness and accepting without judgement) and self-compassion. There was also a significant decrease in the perception of stress, but no effect on self-determination scores, which were already high at baseline.
Conclusion. Potential teachers of MBIs in South Africa demonstrated significant gains in their own mindfulness practice and self-compassion as well as decreased perception of stress during the first module of the training programme. Further research will follow as this group completes the entire programme.

Authors' affiliations

S Whitesman, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Institute for Mindfulness South Africa, Cape Town, South Africa

R Mash, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

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Mindfulness; Mindfulness-based interventions; Training mindfulness; Self-compassion; Self-determination; Stress

Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2015;7(2):220-223. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.460

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-07-09
Date published: 2015-11-21

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