Secondary Topic: Faculty development/leadership
Tertiary Topic: Mind-body (including meditation and yoga)
A pilot study of a mindfulness website for teachers and classrooms: DeStress Mondays
Lindsey Webb, MS, MHS; Tamar Mendelson, PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, United States; Erica Sibinga, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, United States
Late Breaker: No
Research has begun to highlight the positive effect of mindfulness instruction for teachers in need of resources to reduce stress. However, issues arise in the logistics of implementing mindfulness programming to primary school teachers, as they face the barriers of limited time and competing priorities. The aim of this study was to examine the feasibility and acceptability of a website designed to provide teachers with mindfulness practices that could be used for self-care, as well as in the classroom with students. Additionally, the study aimed to explore the potential impact of website practices on teachers' mental and physical well-being.
The study was a pre-post pilot study across 3 Baltimore City elementary/middle schools. Teachers were given surveys at baseline, and after two months of using the DeStress Mondays website. Surveys included measures of website utilization, teacher-related concerns, stress, sleep quality, depression, anxiety, mindfulness, coping, and self-compassion.
Across the three schools, 50 teachers participated in the baseline survey (82% female, 52% African American). A majority of the teachers who participated in the post-program survey (n = 41), reported using the website practices at least 1-3 times during the study period for self-care (85.3%) or in the classroom (65.9%). Significant pre-post differences were seen in several variables, including a decrease in work-related stress (p = .001), perceived stress (p = .01), depression (p = .001), and anxiety (p = .02), as well as an increase in overall sleep quality (p = .001).
Results from this pilot pre-post study provide preliminary evidence that the practices delivered by a mindfulness website may help improve the mental health and well-being of primary school teachers. Future research should focus on further evaluating web-based delivery methods for mindfulness interventions and practices to teachers using control groups, larger sample sizes, and longitudinal study designs.