The CARE Program for Educators: New Findings on Effectiveness in Europe

By Mark Greenberg
Emeritus Bennett Chair of Prevention Science, Penn State University, Chair of CREATE (

Led by Dr. Joispa Mihic at the University of Zagreb, a newly released randomized controlled study of the CARE Program in Mindfulness has shown promising results for teachers’ social and emotional competencies, their health, and well-being. This is the first study of CARE with teachers outside the U.S. Teachers in Croatia, similarly to in Europe and the U.S., report medium to high levels of stress and rarely received professional development focused on their well-being.

The study included 54 teachers and other school personnel from public schools in Zagreb, Croatia. At pre-test, post-test, and 6-month follow-up, participants completed a battery of self-report measures to assess mindfulness, burnout, self-compassion and compassion. Non-ambulatory blood pressure and heart rate monitoring was also conducted.

Results showed that teachers who were randomized and received the CARE program had significant improvements in the self-compassion, and two of its subscales, common humanity and mindfulness compared to teachers randomized to control. At the follow-up, participants reported significantly higher levels of mindfulness, compassion for others, and self-compassion with medium-to-large effect sizes ranging from 0.50 to 0.73.

Measures of cardiovascular function at post-test showed that CARE participants had significantly lower average heart rates than those in the control group. However, the effects did not maintain at follow-up.

Dr. Mihic concludes “This study has shown that the implementation of the CARE program outside of the USA had a positive impact on some of the aspects of school personnel’s well-being and that it could be considered a promising intervention to support teachers and other school professionals. Likewise, this study points to the possible benefit of this intervention on cardiovascular health of program participants. Given these promising results, further and more complex research of the mindfulness-based social-emotional learning interventions impact on educators is needed.

Although there are numerous possible approaches to support teachers, as Catherine Gewertz writes in Education Week the CARE Program (Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education)  has careful scientific proof of its effectiveness for educators.  Learn more about CARE and its findings here


Mihić, J., Oh, Y., Greenberg, M., & Kranželić, V. (2020). Effectiveness of mindfulness-based social-emotional learning program care for teachers within croatian context. Mindfulness, online 2020.


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