Improvements in Mindfulness Facets Mediate the Alleviation of Burnout Dimensions

Sanna Kinnunen, Anne Puolakanaho, Asko Tolvanen, Anne Mäkikangas, Raimo Lappalainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


While interventions using mindfulness have been effective in treating burnout, the mechanisms of change need more
research. This study investigated which of five mindfulness facets (observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judging,
and non-reacting) mediated the intervention effects on three burnout dimensions (exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced professional
efficacy) during an 8-week mindfulness-, acceptance-, and value-based (MAV) intervention and a 10-month follow-up.

The participants were a heterogeneous sample of employees suffering from burnout (n = 202, 80% women, mean
age = 47.5 years). Latent change score modeling was conducted for each combination of the mindfulness facets and the burnout
dimensions. Confidence intervals were calculated for the coefficients in the models.

The modeling results showed that mindfulness improvement during the intervention mediated burnout alleviation during
both the intervention and the 10-month follow-up. A large spread of mindfulness facets mediated changes in all the burnout
dimensions during the intervention (all for cynicism, all except describing for exhaustion, and all except observing for reduced
professional efficacy). The improvement in non-judging skills mediated the reductions in all burnout dimensions during the
follow-up. For exhaustion, it was the only significant mediator during the follow-up, whereas for cynicism and reduced professional efficacy, describing and observing were additional mediators.
Improving mindfulness facets using a MAV intervention had significant long-term effects on burnout in this study.
Non-judging is possibly the most important mindfulness facet to improve in burnout interventions, given that it mediated the
changes in all burnout dimensions during both the intervention and 10-month follow-up.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2779–2792
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Acceptance and commitment therapy
  • Burnout
  • Intervention
  • Mediation
  • Mindfulness

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


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