Online Program

Cultural and Contextual Adaptation of a Workplace Mindfulness Intervention: Lessons Learned from a Pilot Study

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 3:30 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.

Sherri Seyfried, PhD, ACSW, Social Work, Chicago State University, Chicago, IL

African Americans are disproportionately impacted by stress related health disorders. Research indicates the benefit of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in reducing stress and promoting healthy behavior.  However, few studies have examined the cultural adaptation of MBSR for African Americans and even fewer studies have examined the cultural and contextual adaptation of a workplace MBSR intervention with African American human case managers working in underserved communities.


The researcher reflects upon the cultural adaptation of an MBSR intervention that is part of a NIH funded pilot study designed to examine the efficacy of MBSR in reducing stress among case managers. 20 of the 23 participants are African American. Paricipants were  assigned to one of two MBSR groups. Minor cultural and contextual adaptations were made to the curriculum after group one completed the first MBSR intervention, the adaptations were then applied to the second MBSR group. Efforts were made to insure the adaptations did not alter the fidelity of the intervention.


Lessons Learned

Lessons learned from this pilot study are; 1) The organizational context and culture of the work environment become a part of the intervention, 2) Cultural congruence between MBSR and African American spiritual beliefs and practices are important, and 3) The importance of addressing cultural adaptations while maintaining the fidelity of MBSR.



The findings from this pilot study will be used to develop an adapted MBSR curriculum for African American human service providers.


Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Diversity and culture
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Explain the importance of organizational culture and context in intervention research. Discuss the health benefits of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for African American human service providers. Identify ways to make cultural adaptations of MBSR that do not alter the fidelity of the intervention.

Keyword(s): African American, Stress

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI of an NIH funded study focusing on the efficacy of MBSR in reducing stress. I have considerable experience and training in mindfulness interventions.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.