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Some Key Research Questions for Mindfulness Interventions

  • Christopher Castille (a1), Katina Sawyer (a1), Christian Thoroughgood (a2) and John Buckner V (a3)

For industrial and organizational psychologists who are unfamiliar with the mindfulness literature, Hyland, Lee, and Mills (2015) nicely introduce the concept by highlighting key findings from prior studies. Although their review focuses on the many benefits of mindfulness, we believe that mindfulness research should address certain questions that will help us understand whether mindfulness interventions result in a cost-effective positive return on investment. In alignment with the perspective of evidence-based practice (Briner & Rousseau, 2011; Pfeffer & Sutton, 2006), we call for a holistic evaluation of mindfulness, including a consideration of when or how unintended side effects emerge. Importantly, we discuss the potential mechanisms by which mindfulness generates valued outcomes (e.g., performance and collective psychological climate) and the need for more sophisticated research to isolate these causal effects. We also consider how the judicious use of utility analytics (e.g., cost effectiveness and return on investment) might help demonstrate the value of mindfulness interventions while also acknowledging questions of causality that must be addressed for such value to be experienced. We close by clarifying that we have the intention of promoting research to further evidence-based practices. There are organizations that have already begun providing mindfulness meditation interventions, and it is our hope that our commentary will help practitioners in these settings to consider the evidence suggesting that there may be unknown nuances regarding mindfulness practice. Ultimately, we believe that mindfulness is an important burgeoning area of research deserving of more scholarly attention.

Corresponding author
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Christopher Castille, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Villanova University, 800 East Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA 19085. E-mail:
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Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • ISSN: 1754-9426
  • EISSN: 1754-9434
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