Stress management interventions among healthcare workers using mindfulness: a systematic review

  • Marta Chiappetta
  • Valeria D'Egidio
  • Cristina Sestili
  • Rosario Andrea Cocchiara
  • Giuseppe La Torre
Keywords: mindfulness, stress, MBSR, healthcare workers, stress management


Background: stress among healthcare professionals has gained more and more attention due to the negative consequences on their and patients’ health. As a result of intense working hours, night shifts, responsibilities of care, and emotional contact with patients, healthcare workers experience stressful conditions. Interventions to prevent and manage their wellbeing are needed, in order to reduce the risks of onset of burnout syndrome.

Aim:  the aim of this systematic review is to analyze how mindfulness courses can improve mental and physical well-being of healthcare workers. 

Methods: a literature search was conducted in May 2018 using the databases Medline (PubMed), Scopus and Isi Web of Knowledge. Studies were included if they examined mindfulness interventions as possible solutions to manage stress among healthcare workers.

Results: fifty-eight articles met the inclusion criteria: 13 of them were clinical trials; 11 were randomized clinical trials; 12 were systematic reviews; 7 were narrative reviews and 15 were observational studies. The studies included showed effectiveness of mindfulness programs in reducing stress, self-compassion, burnout, anxiety and depression. Significant negative association has been observed between MBSR and stress levels (β: −0.60, 95% CI:−5.95 to −4.04, P< 0.001) and mental exhaustion (β:−0.43, 95% CI:−3.30 −1.86, P< 0.001). Clinical trials focused on psychoeducational interventions highlighted decreased burnout scores in intervention group (SDM: -0.38).

Conclusion: courses based on mindfulness showed to be effective in improving healthcare workers’ well-being, increasing their quality of life and the productivity outcomes. The evidence derived from this systematic review suggests that these interventions should be included within the work organization in order to be viable tools for promoting self-care and quality of care.