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Healthcare workers play a critical role in the health of a nation, yet rates of healthcare worker stress are disproportionately high. We evaluated whether mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for life (MBCT-L), could reduce stress in healthcare workers and target a range of secondary outcomes. Method: This is the first parallel randomised controlled trial of MBCT-L. Participants were NHS workers, who were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive either MBCT-L or wait-list. The primary outcome was self-reported stress at post-intervention. Secondary variables were well-being, depression, anxiety, and work-related outcomes. Mixed regressions were used. Mindfulness and self/other-compassion were explored as potential mechanisms of effects on stress and wellbeing. Results: We assigned 234 participants to MBCT-L (n = 115) or to wait-list (n = 119). 168 (72%) participants completed the primary outcome and of those who started the MBCT-L 73.40% (n = 69) attended the majority of the sessions. MBCT-L ameliorated stress compared with controls (B = 2.60, 95% CI = 1.63‒3.56; d = -0.72; p < .0001). Effects were also found for well-being, depression and anxiety, but not for work-related outcomes. Mindfulness and self-compassion mediated effects on stress and wellbeing. Conclusions: MBCT-L could be an effective and acceptable part of a wider healthcare workers well-being and mental health strategy.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Clin Health Psychol

Publication Date





Experiment, Healthcare workers, MBCT-L, Mindfulness, Stress