Positive mental training: efficacy, experience and underlying mechanisms of a health promotion intervention for resilience and wellbeing in the workplace
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There is a growing interest in brief, low-cost workplace health promotion interventions for wellbeing, which target increasing resilience, mindfulness and positive appraisal. One such health promotion intervention is Positive Mental Training. Three linked studies set out to investigate the efficacy of Positive Mental Training in the workplace. Study 1 used a double blind, randomised control trial design, with healthy volunteer employees randomised to intervention or control conditions. Validated questionnaires measured wellbeing, resilience, mindfulness, burnout and emotional distress at 4 time intervals, over a 6 month period. Multi-level linear modelling showed significant effects of the intervention on wellbeing and depression. ANCOVA analysis revealed these benefits were not sustained at follow up (26 weeks). Study 2 expanded on study 1, with qualitative interviews of purposefully selected participants of study 1. A grounded theory approach was used to explore individual motivations, benefits and limitations of the programme. Study 3 adopted a component research design to investigate one possible underlying aspect of this multi-component health promotion intervention (positive appraisal suggestion) in a student population and examined whether relaxation increased this effect. Positive appraisal suggestions given with or without relaxation were both able to significantly increase levels of positive affect and self-esteem compared to a control. Positive cognitive bias was found to increase in both the active conditions and the control suggesting differential cognitive and emotional processes, in that an increase in positive CB was not associated with an increase in mood. Overall these studies indicated evidence for the efficacy of Positive Mental Training in workplace health promotion, explored experience of participants undertaking the study and investigated the underlying mechanisms of an active component of Positive Mental Training. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.