Acute Effects of Online Mind-Body Skills Training on Resilience, Mindfulness, and Empathy

J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2015 Oct;20(4):247-53. doi: 10.1177/2156587215575816. Epub 2015 Mar 17.


Background: Some studies have begun to show benefits of brief in-person mind-body skills training. We evaluated the effects of 1-hour online elective mind-body skills training for health professionals on mindfulness, resilience, and empathy.

Methods: Between May and November, 2014, we described enrollees for the most popular 1-hour modules in a new online mind-body skills training program; compared enrollees' baseline stress and burnout to normative samples; and assessed acute changes in mindfulness, resilience, and empathy.

Results: The 513 enrollees included dietitians, nurses, physicians, social workers, clinical trainees, and health researchers; about 1/4 were trainees. The most popular modules were the following: Introduction to Stress, Resilience, and the Relaxation Response (n = 261); Autogenic Training (n = 250); Guided Imagery and Hypnosis for Pain, Insomnia, and Changing Habits (n = 112); Introduction to Mindfulness (n = 112); and Mindfulness in Daily Life (n = 102). Initially, most enrollees met threshold criteria for burnout and reported moderate to high stress levels. Completing 1-hour modules was associated with significant acute improvements in stress (P < .001), mindfulness (P < .001), empathy (P = .01), and resilience (P < .01).

Conclusion: Online mind-body skills training reaches diverse, stressed health professionals and is associated with acute improvements in stress, mindfulness, empathy, and resilience. Additional research is warranted to compare the long-term cost-effectiveness of different doses of online and in-person mind-body skills training for health professionals.

Keywords: Mind–body; education; empathy; meditation; mindfulness; resilience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Education
  • Empathy*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness*
  • Online Systems
  • Prospective Studies
  • Resilience, Psychological
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult