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A Small Randomized Pilot Study of a Workplace Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Surgical Intensive Care Unit Personnel

Effects on Salivary α-Amylase Levels

Duchemin, Anne-Marie MD; Steinberg, Beth A. MS, RN; Marks, Donald R. PsyD; Vanover, Kristin MSW; Klatt, Maryanna PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: April 2015 - Volume 57 - Issue 4 - p 393–399
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000371
Original Articles

Objective: To determine whether a workplace stress-reduction intervention decreases reactivity to stress among personnel exposed to a highly stressful occupational environment.

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusions: These data suggest that this type of intervention could decrease not only reactivity to stress but also the risk of burnout.

From the Department of Psychiatry (Dr Duchemin, Dr Marks, and Mrs Vanover), The Ohio State University College of Medicine; and Stress, Trauma, and Resilience (STAR) Program (Dr Duchemin), Critical Care Nursing, Wexner Medical Center (Mrs Steinberg), Department of Family Medicine (Dr Klatt), College of Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus.

Address correspondence to: Anne-Marie Duchemin, MD, Department of Psychiatry, The Ohio State University, 1670 Upham Dr, Columbus, OH 43210 (

This study was funded in part by the OSU Harding Behavioral Health Stress, Trauma and Resilience program.

Conflict of interest: None declared.

Copyright © 2015 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine