September 26, 2019
Five Studies Show Mindfulness Improves Presenteeism, Reduces Stress, and Associated Health Costs
New Findings Support Use of Mindfulness to Tackle Top Challenges Facing Employers
When you reduce stress through mindfulness, you improve productivity and decrease healthcare costs, according to data presented today at The Integrated Benefits Institute and Conference Board Health and Productivity Forum in Chicago.
“Stress, lack of productivity, and rising healthcare costs continue to plague our nation’s workforce,” said Ruth Q. Wolever, PhD, speaker, Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Chief Science Officer for eMindful. “These findings confirm that mindfulness is a powerful tool to address some of the toughest challenges facing employers.”
The five studies were conducted using gold standard methods to determine the impact of mindfulness on health and productivity. Participants in each study used eMindful’s evidence-based, expert-led applied mindfulness programs via a mobile app or the web. The studies analyzed thousands of participants using the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), a widely used and validated instrument for measuring perception of stress, and the Work Limitations Questionnaire (WLQ), which assesses the degree to which physical health, emotional problems, and other factors interfere with one’s ability to perform a job.
The first study (n = 149) found that mindfulness reduced stress levels with PSS scores dropping on average to 16 points from 25.
Study two (n = 683) found a significant correlation between stress and healthcare costs – less stressed individuals saved approximately $2,000 per year.
The third study showed dramatic improvements for physicians (n = 102) across the mindfulness program, and again 12 months (n = 27) after completing the program. Stress and productivity (p < 0.001) improvements were fully sustained one year later, showing the longitudinal impact of mindfulness.
The fourth study (n = 3,408) found that a reduction in stress significantly correlated with an improvement in productivity (r=0.45). Seventy-four percent of participants (n=2,522) decreased their stress levels (-7.28 on average) and gained an average 36 hours per year in productivity.
The final study (n = 2,123) found that of participants who practiced mindfulness for 14 minutes a day, at least three of 30 days, approximately 73% decreased their PSS scores (-6.18 on average).