Faculty of Education - Research Publications

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    Contemplative Interventions and Employee Distress: A Meta‐Analysis
    Slemp, 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.
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    Part I: Education - Overview
    White, M ; Loton, D ; Slemp, G ; Murray, S ; White, M ; Slemp, G ; Murray, S (Springer, 2017)
    Over the past decade, there has been a rapid rise of interest in the application of positive psychology within education settings. Seligman et al. (2009) defined positive education as “education for both traditional skills and happiness”, however, in line with the more nuanced and comprehensive models of well-being in the field, positive education targets more than just happiness. More recently it has become an umbrella term to describe empirically validated interventions and programs from positive psychology that have an impact on student well-being. Positive education also aligns with educational agendas or initiatives that sit outside of the traditional academic skills of literacy and numeracy, and aim to foster adaptive dispositions and social emotional learning for continued growth across the lifespan. While terminologies differ, these agendas are sometimes referred to as character education, lifelong learning, twenty-first century skills, and social and emotional learning. The positive education movement has now encroached into kindergarten, early years, junior, middle and senior schooling. We have even seen the application of positive psychology within tertiary educational colleges across the world.