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Meditation practice, dispositional mindfulness, personality and program outcomes in mindfulness training for medical students

Bailey, N., Opie, J.L., Hassed, C.S. and Chambers, R. (2019) Meditation practice, dispositional mindfulness, personality and program outcomes in mindfulness training for medical students. Focus on Health Professional Education, 20 (1). pp. 50-68.

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Introduction: Medical students experience high levels of psychological distress and are at risk for depression, burnout and suicidal ideation. To address these issues, the mindfulness-based Health Enhancement Program (HEP) forms part of the MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine) at Monash University. This pilot study investigated the relationship between amount of mindfulness practice and measures of mental health, study engagement and dispositional mindfulness. We also sought to understand how “Big Five” personality traits predicted engagement with the intervention.

Methods: From an eligible cohort of 322 MBBS students, 37 (24 females, 13 males; aged 17 to 20) provided pre- and post-intervention responses. Participants completed the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP-100) pre-intervention and the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI), Depression and Anxiety Scale Stress Scale (DASS-21) and the student version of the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES-S) pre- and post-intervention.

Evaluation: Results indicated that both dispositional mindfulness and study engagement increased from pre- to post-intervention. Results also indicated no increase in depression, anxiety and stress from mid-semester to exam periods. Amount of mindfulness meditation was positively related to agreeableness.

Conclusions: These results suggest that individuals who score higher in agreeableness may engage most with mindfulness programs, which may be protective for mental health. However, the conclusions of the study are limited by a small sample size and lack of control group.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology and Exercise Science
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