- Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Research Publications
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ItemContemplative Interventions and Employee Distress: A Meta‐AnalysisSlemp, G ; Jach, H ; Chia, A ; Loton, D ; Kern, M (Wiley, 2019)Mindfulness, meditation, and other practices that form contemplative interventions are increasingly offered in workplaces to support employee mental health. Studies have reported benefits across various populations, yet researchers have expressed concerns that adoption of such interventions has outpaced scientific evidence. We reappraise the extant literature by meta‐analytically testing the efficacy of contemplative interventions in reducing psychological distress in employees (meta‐analyzed set: k = 119; N = 6,044). Complementing other reviews, we also examine a range of moderators and the impact of biases that could artificially inflate effect sizes. Results suggested interventions were generally effective in reducing employee distress, yielding small to moderate effects that were sustained at last follow‐up. Effects were moderated by the type of contemplative intervention offered and the type of control group utilized. We also found evidence of publication bias, which is likely inflating estimated effects. Uncontrolled single sample studies were more affected by bias than large or randomized controlled trial studies. Adjustments for publication bias lowered overall effects. Overall, our review supports the effectiveness of contemplative interventions in reducing employee distress, but there is a need for proactive strategies to mitigate artificially inflated effect sizes and thus avoid the misapplication of contemplative interventions in work settings.