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.