Kim Lien van der Schans
Benefits of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Training on Individual and Interpersonal Functioning among the Police
Abstract: Police employees have an essential role in sustaining safety and harmony within communities, and need to stay well as individuals in order to achieve this. Yet, employees of the police force are often under tremendous pressure, partly as a result of frequent exposure to highly ambiguous and challenging (social) situations. In collaboration with the Dutch police force, the present project studied the effects of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training on the fostering of individual as well as interpersonal functioning among employees of the Dutch police. We examined the effects of a MBSR intervention on indicators of individual well-being and functioning (e.g. resilience, self-efficacy) as well as indicators of interpersonal functioning (e.g. empathy, perspective taking, forgiveness, anger). In total, 133 police employees participated in a non-randomized waitlist controlled MBSR intervention between April 2017 – October 2018. Participants filled out the online questionnaires two-months before the training, one week before the training, one week after the training and at two-months follow-up. Results indicated increases in individual and interpersonal functioning from pre- to post-training and from pre-training to two-month follow-up. Moreover, these changes were predicted by increases in trait mindfulness and, partly, decentering. Our current research provides support for the individual and social benefits of mindfulness interventions in the important applied setting of the police force. Additionally, our findings provide insights into the association between mindfulness and interpersonal responses more generally.