Determining the feasibility and effectiveness of brief online mindfulness training for rural medical students: a pilot study

Sarah Moore, Rita Barbour, Hanh Ngo, Craig Sinclair, Richard Chambers, Kirsten Auret, Craig Hassed, Denese Playford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND: We sought to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of a mindfulness training program, delivered online to medical students at a Rural Clinical School. METHODS: An 8-week online training program was delivered to penultimate-year medical students at an Australian Rural Clinical School during 2016. Using a mixed methods approach, we measured the frequency and duration of participants' mindfulness meditation practice, and assessed changes in their perceived stress, self-compassion and compassion levels, as well as personal and professional attitudes and behaviours. RESULTS: Forty-seven participants were recruited to the study. 50% of participants were practising mindfulness meditation at least weekly by the end of the 8-week program, and 32% reported practising at least weekly 4 months following completion of the intervention. There was a statistically significant reduction in participants' perceived stress levels and a significant increase in self-compassion at 4-month follow-up. Participants reported insights about the personal and professional impact of mindfulness meditation training as well as barriers to practice. CONCLUSIONS: The results provide preliminary evidence that online training in mindfulness meditation can be associated with reduced stress and increased self-compassion in rural medical students. More rigorous research is required to establish concrete measures of feasibility of a mindfulness meditation program.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Medical Education
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2020

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