Acceptability of a Mindfulness-Based Professional Development Program to Support Educational Leader Well-Being

Sebrina L. Doyle Fosco, Deborah L. Schussler, Patricia A. Jennings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: This research investigated how school and district leaders perceive and respond to an adapted version of the Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) program, implemented district-wide. Method: Using mixed-methods end-of-training evaluations and follow-up surveys, ratings of program acceptability and use of CARE practices were explored. Overall ratings of social and individual acceptability were examined cross-sectionally and also compared with previously reported acceptability data from teachers. Further, a multiple-case study analysis was conducted with 11 leaders using matched baseline data to identify characteristics that may have impacted their perceptions and responsiveness to the program. Results: Overall, acceptability of the program was inconsistent for educational leaders. Those with some prior experience with mindfulness, but not those with a regular practice, appeared to receive most benefit from the program. The format of the program also appeared to influence acceptability; many leaders indicated that the program was too long. That said, all leaders who responded to the follow-up survey reported use of CARE practices, and most indicated intrapersonal and interpersonal improvements. Conclusion: Although educational leaders did derive benefits from participation, there were also challenges with acceptability. More research is needed into the best ways to support the unique needs of educational leaders, including identifying the optimal format for leader professional development. Integrating aspects of mindfulness in pre-service education may be helpful for improving acceptability. Finally, it is important to identify ways to get buy-in and support leader agency regarding their needs for professional development. Preregistration: This study was not preregistered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1951-1966
Number of pages16
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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