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Mindfulness practice reduces hair cortisol, anxiety and perceived stress in university workers: randomized clinical trial

Faculty Advisor




mindfulness, hair cortisol, stress, workers, mental health

Abstract (summary)

Background: Anxiety and stress are common mental health conditions reported by university workers. Practices of mindfulness represent one promising approach as an effective and feasible means to reduce stress, improve mental health and promote well-being; however, there are no clinical trials that have combined long-term stress biomarkers (hair cortisol) and psychometric assessments in a sample of university workers. Objective: This study investigated the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based program on long-term stress, by measuring hair cortisol concentration and perceived stress and anxiety among workers who were undergoing high levels of stress. Method: We conducted a randomized clinical trial at work among the employees of a public university. We compared a group that received the eight-week mindfulness intervention with the wait list group who received no intervention. Results: A total of 30 participants were included in the study, with n = 15 subjects in the intervention group and n = 15 in the control group. Hair cortisol, perceived stress and anxiety significantly reduced after the intervention compared to the control group, which had no appreciable decline in the measured variables. Conclusion: This clinical trial showed the effectiveness of a mindfulness program on mental health psychometric measures (perceived stress and anxiety) and on a long-term stress biomarker (hair cortisol). It can be concluded that an eight-week mindfulness program could be implemented as an effective strategy to reduce stress biomarkers (hair cortisol) as well as perceived stress and anxiety, improving the mental health of university workers.

Publication Information

Gherardi-Donato, E.C.d.S.; Gimenez, L.B.H.; Fernandes, M.N.d.F.; Lacchini, R.; Camargo Júnior, E.B.; Díaz-Serrano, K.V.; Melchior, M.; Pérez, R.G.; Riquelme-Galindo, J.; Reisdorfer, E. (2023) Mindfulness Practice Reduces Hair Cortisol, Anxiety and Perceived Stress in University Workers: Randomized Clinical Trial. Healthcare 2023, 11, 2875.


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Attribution (CC BY)