A randomised trial of Mindfulness‐based Social Work and Self‐Care with social workers

Alan Maddock*, Karen McGuigan, Pearse Mccusker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The primary objective of this study was to examine the effects of a bespoke and innovative six-week online Mindfulness-based Social Work and Self-Care (MBSWSC) programme on the stress, feelings of burnout, anxiety, depression, and well-being of a sample of social workers. This secondary objective was to examine the effectiveness of MBSWSC at improving a number of potentially important mindfulness-based programme mechanisms of action, including mindfulness, attention regulation (decentering), acceptance, self-compassion, non-attachment, aversion, worry and rumination. A randomised controlled trial with repeated measures (pre-post intervention) was conducted to evaluate the effects of MBSWSC against an active control. The active control was a modified mindfulness-based programme which focussed on supporting increases in mindfulness and self-compassion in social workers with a view to improving the same primary study outcomes. Sixty-two participants were randomly allocated to MBSWSC (n = 33) or the active control (n = 29). When compared to the active control group, the MBSWSC programme was found to be significantly superior at improving stress, emotional exhaustion, anxiety, and depression. MBSWSC was also superior to the active control at improving acceptance, mindfulness, non-attachment, attention regulation (decentering) and worry of the social workers in this study. The results suggest that MBSWSC is a very useful therapeutic programme, which has the capacity to improve a range of important mental health and well-being outcomes for social workers. The results also indicate that the MBSWSC programme has the capacity to improve a range of important mindfulness-based mechanisms of action.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent psychology
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • social work
  • self-care
  • stress
  • burnout
  • mental health


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