A Small Randomized Pilot Study of a Workplace Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Surgical Intensive Care Unit Personnel: Effects on Salivary α-Amylase Levels

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To determine whether a workplace stress-reduction intervention decreases reactivity to stress among personnel exposed to a highly stressful occupational environment.


Personnel from a surgical intensive care unit were randomized to a stress-reduction intervention or a waitlist control group. The 8-week group mindfulness-based intervention included mindfulness, gentle yoga, and music. Psychological and biological markers of stress were measured 1 week before and 1 week after the intervention.


Levels of salivary α-amylase, an index of sympathetic activation, were significantly decreased between the first and second assessments in the intervention group with no changes in the control group. There was a positive correlation between salivary α-amylase levels and burnout scores.


These data suggest that this type of intervention could decrease not only reactivity to stress but also the risk of burnout.

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