Date of Award
Master of Science
Behavior Analysis and Therapy
Those in human services, including social workers, hospital staff, and staff working with individuals with disabilities, experience high levels of stress and burnout. Those working in special education with individuals who display maladaptive behaviors can be particularly susceptible to this. This can lead to negative effects on physical and mental health. Stress and burnout can also lead to staff being less likely to perform aspects of their jobs optimally. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) posits that much burnout both results from and results in focusing on past or future events. Mindfulness training, in addition to ACT, can teach individuals to focus on the present moment. This study investigated the effects of mindfulness practice on (self-report inventory measures) of mindfulness (MAAS), psychological flexibility (AAQ-II) and WAAQ), and burnout (MBI), as well as on staff performance measures of number of staff initiated interactions with students and accuracy of data collection. for three individuals working at a school for children who display maladaptive behaviors. Post-treatment, all three of the participants improved in MAAS scores. Two improved in AAQ-II scores, and two also improved in WAAQ scores. MBI scores improved for two participants, mostly in the subsection of ‘burnout’. Two participants initiated more interactions with students post-treatment, and data collection accuracy improved post-treatment for two participants. All three participants improved post-treatment in at least three of the target areas. Implications and possibilities for future research are discussed.
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