Blending mindfulness practices and character strengths increases employee well-being: A second-order meta-analysis and a follow-up field experiment

Lucas Monzani*, Jordi Escartín, Lucia Ceja, A. B. Bakker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


This study summarises the existing literature on Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) and their effect on employee well-being criteria and extends it by testing MBIs against a Mindfulness-Strengths-Based Intervention (MSBI). Given that extant MBIs focus on restoring well-being, our first hypothesis was that MBIs would perform better on reducing negative emotional states than on promoting well-being. To test our first hypothesis, we conducted a second-order meta-analysis, which summarised 13 first-order meta-analyses (k = 311). MBIs had stronger effects on reducing negative emotions (g = −0.74) than on increasing well-being (g = 0.58). Then, we conducted a follow-up field experiment, comparing how an MSBI performed against an MBI on employee well-being criteria. An MSBI combines mindful meditation, mindful living and Character-Strengths-Based Interventions. Our second hypothesis was that an MSBI would outperform an MBI on increasing employee well-being criteria. During an MSBI, participants (a) attain a conscious state of mindful awareness, and (b) direct their attention towards the discovery and habitual exercise of their character strengths. To test our second hypothesis, we randomly assigned employees of a small Spanish healthcare organisation to either an MSBI or an MBI intervention group. We measured employee well-being, before and after the intervention, using two well-established measures of hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Our results show that both interventions were successful and had a large effect on both well-being criteria. Further, as predicted, the MSBI group reported higher absolute scores of well-being than the MBI group. Implications for theory and practice are discussed, and detailed appendices for practitioners are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1062
Number of pages38
JournalHuman Resource Management Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank associate editor Kaifeng Jiang and three anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments during the review process on how to improve our manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Human Resource Management Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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