Research on CARE

Since it was developed in 2007, CARE has been studied in a series of rigorous studies examining the impacts of CARE on teacher, classroom and student outcomes. The results of this research have been published in 5 peer-reviewed journal articles. These include the results of both quantitative and qualitative analyses.

After three years of development and piloting, in 2009 the US Department of Education, Institute of Educational Sciences awarded a grant to the Penn State University Prevention Research Center with a subaward to the Garrison Institute to refine the CARE for Teachers program and to complete a preliminary pilot study of its efficacy in reducing teacher stress and improving teacher well-being, efficacy and mindfulness (IES grant #R305A090179) [i].

The results of the first year of this two-year study were published in an article in the peer-reviewed Journal of Classroom Interaction [ii], and in a recently published book on teacher education [iii]. Analyses of qualitative data collected during this study were published in the peer-reviewed journal Mindfulness [iv][v]. Data reported here suggest that CARE is a promising tool to help teachers create and maintain a positive classroom learning environment, avoid burnout and attrition, and enjoy and excel in their work. The research team found significant improvements in well-being, efficacy, and mindfulness among teachers who participated in CARE compared to the control group. These results were reported in the peer-reviewed journal School Psychology Quarterly [vi].


"CARE is a promising tool to help teachers create and maintain a positive classroom learning environment, avoid burnout and attrition, and enjoy and excel in their work. The research team found significant improvements in well-being, efficacy, and mindfulness among teachers who participated in CARE compared to the control group."


In 2012 Penn State University was awarded a 3.5 million dollar grant (with a subaward to Garrison Institute) to complete a large multi-site randomized controlled trial in New York City elementary schools (R305A120180) [vii]. This study replicated previous results in teacher improvements but also demonstrated that CARE improves important dimensions of the classroom. Classrooms were observed and coded by trained researchers blind to the study aims and the teachers’ random assignment. Compared to classrooms in the control group, CARE classrooms were more emotionally positive and the teachers demonstrated greater sensitivity to their students’ needs. Finally CARE classrooms demonstrated higher degrees of productivity than controls. These results will be presented at the American Education Research Association Annual Conference in Washington D.C. in April 2016 [viii]. The next step in the research is to examine whether teacher improvements are stable over time and whether CARE has impacts on student outcomes. The study collected data from over 5000 students. These data are currently being analyzed.


"Compared to classrooms in the control group, CARE classrooms were more emotionally positive and the teachers demonstrated greater sensitivity to their students’ needs."


With today’s high levels of stress and burnout among teachers, districts are looking for science-tested means to support their teaching staff.  The results of the CARE data are particularly significant for several reasons. First, the series of CARE studies all showing improvements for teachers provide clear evidence that CARE is an effective professional development program for reducing teachers’ occupational stress and promoting their well-being. Second, the NYC study is the largest and most rigorous study of a mindfulness-based professional development for teachers and the first of its kind to examine intervention effects on the classroom and student outcomes. Third, the results of the NYC study showing impacts on the classroom are important because they demonstrate an important relationship between teachers’ well-being and classroom quality. Finally, this study is a “proof of concept” that a mindfulness-based intervention can have impacts on both individuals and their work environment.

[i] https://ies.ed.gov/funding/grantsearch/details.asp?ID=731

[ii] Jennings, P. A., Snowberg, K. E., Coccia, M. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2011). Improving classroom learning environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE): Results of two pilot studies. Journal of Classroom Interactions. 46, 27-48. [PDF]

[iii] Jennings, P. A. (2011). Promoting teachers’ social and emotional competencies to support performance and reduce burnout. In A. Cohan & A. Honigsfeld (Eds.) Breaking the Mold of Pre-service and In-service Teacher Education: Innovative and Successful Practices for the 21st Century. New York: Rowman and Littlefield. [PDF]

[iv] Sharp, J. E. & Jennings. P. A. (2016). Strengthening teacher presence through mindfulness: What educators say about the Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) program. Mindfulness. Published online: doi: 10.1007/s12671-015-0474-8

[v] Schussler, D. L., Jennings, P. A., Sharp, J. E. & Frank, J. L. (2015). Improving teacher awareness and well-being through CARE: A qualitative analysis of the underlying mechanisms. Mindfulness. Published online: doi: 10.1007/s12671-015-0422-7.

[vi] Jennings, P. A., Frank, J. L., Snowberg, K. E., Coccia, M. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2013). Improving classroom learning environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE): Results of a randomized controlled trial. School Psychology Quarterly, 28, 374-390. doi: 10.1037/spq0000035. [PDF]

[vii] https://ies.ed.gov/funding/grantsearch/details.asp?ID=1233

[viii] Jennings, P. A., Brown, J. L., Frank, J. L., Doyle, S., Oh, Y., Tanler, R., Rasheed, D., DeWeese, A., DeMauro, A. A. & Greenberg, M. T. (2016, May). Enhancing teachers’ wellbeing and classroom quality: Results from a randomized controlled trial of CARE. In P. Jennings (Chair). Examining Implementation, Process, and Outcomes of CARE for Teachers, a Mindfulness-based Intervention. Symposium presented at the American Education Research Association Annual Conference, Washington D. C.