Mechanisms of Mindfulness-Based Training Intervention: Core and Peripheral Functional Elements

Kenneth S. LAW, Jane Yan JIANG, Na Yolanda LI

Research output: Journal PublicationsConference Abstractpeer-review


An ever-increasing number of studies and practice-based programs have evidenced the benefits of mindfulness. This leads to the impression that practicing mindfulness is a panacea for all the problems. In this study, we try to unpack the black box of mindfulness training. We base on the classical mindfulness training program and theorize that the training comprises a core part (attention) and peripheral parts (e.g., emotion regulation). We postulated self-concept altering as the mechanism explaining the effects of mindfulness training. Specifically, the core part functions through defreezing paticipants’ self-concept. Different combinations of the core part and peripheral parts of the mindfulness training modules will reshape participants’ self-concept and induce different outcomes. We tested our theorization using two studies. Study 1 surveyed 104 working employees from the U.S. with a time-lagged design, and Study 2 employed an eight-week experiment design with 136 students from China. The findings of both studies supported our theorization. We found that mindfulness training on attention will activate individuals’ self-concept defreezing and prepare them for new changes. When peripheral parts were introduced after the core attention training, participants will enjoy the corresponding benefits. Particularly, when participants received training on emotion-regulation after their core attention training, they had a decreased level of emotion regulation difficulty. Likewise, participants who received training on other-orientation after the attention training had a higher level of other-focus. Those who undertook a balanced time training after the attention training fostered a more balanced time perspective. Using different measures in the two studies, we found evidence for our hypotheses about the roles of core and peripheral elements in the mindfulness programs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademy of Management Proceedings
Issue number1
Early online date26 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021
Event81st Annual Meeting of Academy of Management: Bring the manager back in Management - Virtual
Duration: 29 Jul 20214 Aug 2021


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