Advertisement

Mindfulness

, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp 1071–1081 | Cite as

A Brief Mindfulness Intervention for Healthy College Students and Its Effects on Psychological Distress, Self-Control, Meta-Mood, and Subjective Vitality

  • Nicholas K. CanbyEmail author
  • Ian M. Cameron
  • Amrit T. Calhoun
  • Gregory M. Buchanan
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

This study investigated the effects of a 6-week adapted mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention on the psychological health and well-being of college students. The experimental group participants were students and faculty (N = 19) who signed up for the mindfulness-based class, and the control group participants (N = 25) were interested in the class but were unable to sign up in time to enroll. Participants were surveyed three times on a range of self-report psychological variables including symptoms of psychological distress, emotional awareness, self-control, day-to-day mindfulness, and subjective vitality. A control group took the same surveys but did not receive any treatment. The adapted-MBSR intervention significantly reduced psychological distress in the experimental group participants as compared to the control group (p = .027, η 2 = .161) and significantly increased self reported mindful awareness (p = .028, η 2 = .160), self-control (p = .007, η 2 = .216), and subjective vitality (p = .001, η 2 = .293), while meta-mood was not affected (p = .314, η 2 = .055). We concluded that MBSR has wide-ranging positive effects on college students, and would be beneficial as a campus stress reduction and preventative mental health intervention.

Keywords

Mindfulness College Self-control Subjective vitality Psychological distress Brief intervention 

Notes

Acknowledgments

In memory of Ian Cameron, a powerful light and inspiration for us all, who tragically passed away on June 29th, 2013. Many thanks to Willoughby Britton and her lab for encouraging and supporting the creation of this publication and offering feedback. Many thanks to Gregory Buchanan, who consistently offered his expert guidance to this project from the start, and to William Conover for his practical training and vision. Thank you to all of the participants in the study, who willingly donated their time in filling out the surveys. Thank you to the Beloit College Psychology department for providing an excellent education and for supporting this research.

References

  1. American College Health Association. (2008). National College Health Assessment: Reference Group Data Report, Spring 2008. Baltimore, MD: American College Health Association.Google Scholar
  2. Astin, J. A. (1997). Stress reduction through mindfulness meditation. Effects on psychological symptomatology, sense of control, and spiritual experiences. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 66, 97–106.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Baumeister, R. F., Galliot, M., DeWall, C. N., & Oaten, M. (2006). Self-regulation and personality: how interventions increase regulatory success, and how depletion moderates effects of traits on behavior. Journal of Personality, 74, 1773–1801.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Beddoe, A. E., & Murphy, S. O. (2004). Does mindfulness decrease stress and foster empathy among nursing students? The Journal of Nursing Education, 43(7), 305–312.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bergen-Cico, D., & Cheon, S. (2013). The mediating effects of mindfulness and self-compassion on trait anxiety. Oxford: Mindfulness. Advance online publication.Google Scholar
  6. Bergen-Cico, D., Possemato, K., & Cheon, S. (2013). Examining the efficacy of a brief mindfulness-based stress reduction (brief MBSR) program on psychological health. Journal of American College Health, 61(6), 348–360.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Bostic, T. J., Rubio, D. M., & Hood, M. (2000). A validation of the subjective vitality scale using structural equation modeling. Social Indicators Research, 52(3), 313–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bowlin, S. L., & Baer, R. A. (2011). Relationships between mindfulness, self-control, and psychological functioning. Personality and Individual Differences, 52, 411–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(4), 822–848.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Bush, M. (2011). Mindfulness in higher education. Contemporary Buddhism: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 12(1), 183–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carmody, J., & Baer, R. A. (2008). Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 31, 23–33.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Chiesa, A., & Serretti, A. (2009). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: a review and meta-analysis. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(5), 593–600.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Clark, D. A., Beck, A. T., & Alford, B. A. (1999). Scientific foundations of cognitive theory and therapy of depression. New York: John Wiley.Google Scholar
  14. Collard, P., Avny, N., & Boniwell, I. (2008). Teaching mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) to students: the effects of MBCT on the levels of mindfulness and subjective well-being. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 24(1), 323–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Deckro, G. R., Ballinger, K. M., Hoyt, M., Wilcher, M., Dusek, J., Myers, P., & Benson, H. (2002). The evaluation of a mind/body intervention to reduce psychological distress and perceived stress in college students. Journal of American College Health, 50(6), 281.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Derogatis, L. R. (1975). Brief symptom inventory. Baltimore, MD: Clinical Psychometric Research.Google Scholar
  17. Derogatis, L. R. (1977). The SCL-R-90 manual I: scoring, administration, and procedures for the SCL-90. Baltimore, MD: Clinical Psychometric Research.Google Scholar
  18. Derogatis, L. R., & Melisaratos, N. (1983). The brief symptom inventory: an introductory report. Psychological Medicine, 13(3), 595–605.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. D’Zurilla, T. J., & Sheedy, C. F. (1991). Relation between social problem-solving ability and subsequent level of psychological stress in college students. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61(5), 841–846.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Eisenberg, D., Downs, M., & Golberstein, E. (2009). Stigma and help-seeking for mental health among college students. Medical Care Research and Review, 66, 522–541.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Eisenberg, D., Hunt, J., Speer, N., & Zivin, K. (2011). Help seeking for mental health on college campuses: review of evidence and next steps for research and practice. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 199(5), 301–308.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Flook, L., Smalley, S. L., Kitil, J. M., Galla, B. M., Kaiser-Greenland, S., Locke, J., Ishijima, E., & Kasari, C. (2010). Effects of mindful awareness practices on executive functions in elementary school children. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 26(1), 70–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Franco, C., Mañas, I., Cangas, A. J., & Gallego, J. (2010). The applications of mindfulness with students of secondary school: results on the academic performance, self-concept and anxiety. Communications in Computer and Information Science, 111, 83–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gallagher, R. P. (2013). National survey of college counseling centers, section one: 4 year directors (Monograph Series Number 9U). Inc: The International Association of Counseling Services.Google Scholar
  25. Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., & Walach, H. (2004). Mindfulness based stress reduction and health benefits A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 57, 35–43.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Hall, P. D. (1999). The effect of meditation on the academic performance of African American college students. Journal of Black Studies, 29(3), 408–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hingson, R. W., Heeren, T., & Winter, M. R. (2006). Age of alcohol-dependence onset: associations with severity of dependence and seeking treatment. Pediatrics, 118, 755–763.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hofmann, S. G., Sawyer, A. T., Witt, A. A., & Oh, D. (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: a meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(2), 169–183.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Hunt, J., & Eisenberg, D. (2010). Mental health problems and help-seeking behavior among college students. Journal of Adolescent Health, 46, 3–10.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Jain, S., Shapiro, S. L., Swanick, S., Roesch, S. C., Mills, P. J., Bell, I., & Schwartz, G. E. R. (2007). A randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation versus relaxation training: Effects on distress, positive states of mind, rumination, and distraction. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 33(1), 11–21.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Jha, A. P., Krompinger, J., & Baime, M. J. (2007). Mindfulness training modifies subsystems of attention. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 7, 109–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Josefsson, T., Lindwall, M., & Broberg, A. G. (2012). The effects of a short-term mindfulness based intervention on self-reported mindfulness, decentering, executive attention, psychological health, and coping style: examining unique mindfulness effects and mediators. Mindfulness, 5, 18–35.Google Scholar
  33. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain and illness. New York: Delacourt.Google Scholar
  34. Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10, 144–156.Google Scholar
  35. Kang, Y. S., Choi, S. Y., & Ryu, E. (2009). The effectiveness of a stress coping program based on mindfulness meditation on stress, anxiety, and depression experienced by nursing students in Korea. Nurse Education Today, 29, 538–543.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Kessler, R. C., Demler, O., Frank, R. G., Olfson, M., Pincus, H. A., & Walters, E. E. (2005). Prevalence and treatment of mental disorders, 1990 to 2003. The New England Journal of Medicine, 352(24), 2515–2523.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Kessler, R. C., Foster, C. L., Saunders, W. B., & Stang, P. E. (1995). The American Journal of Psychiatry, 152, 1026–1032.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Klatt, M. D., Buckworth, J., & Malarkey, W. B. (2008). Effects of low-dose mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR-ld) on working adults. Health Education & Behavior, 36(3), 601–614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lynch, S., Gander, M., Kohls, N., Kudielka, B., & Walach, H. (2011). Mindfulness-based coping with university life: a non-randomized wait-list-controlled pilot evaluation. Stress and Health, 27, 365–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mackenzie, C. S., Poulin, P. A., & Seidman-Carlson, R. (2006). A brief mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention for nurses and nurse aides. Applied Nursing Research, 19(2), 105–109.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. McCown, D., Reibel, D., & Micozzi, M. S. (2011). Teaching mindfulness: a practice guide for clinicians and educators. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  42. Mowbray, C., Megivern, D., Mandiberg, J. M., Strauss, S., Stein, C. H., Collins, K., & Lett, R. (2006). Campus mental health services: recommendations for change. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 76(2), 226–237.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Oman, D., Shapiro, S. L., Thoresen, C. E., Plante, T. G., & Flinders, T. (2008). Meditation lowers stress and supports forgiveness among college students: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of American College Health, 56, 569–578.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Pearlin, L. I., & Schieman, S. (2005). Stress, health, and the life course: some conceptual perspectives. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 46, 205–219.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Post, R. M., & Leverich, G. S. (2006). The role of psychosocial stress in the onset and progression of bipolar disorder and its comorbidities: the need for earlier and alternative modes of therapeutic intervention. Developmental Psychopathology, 18, 1181–1211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Pritchard, M. E., & Wilson, G. S. (2003). Using emotional and social factors to predict student success. Journal of College Student Development, 44(1), 18–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Regehr, C., Glancy, D., & Pitts, A. (2013). Interventions to reduce stress in university students: a review and meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 148, 1–11.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Ryan, N. D. (2003). Child and adolescent depression: short-term treatment effectiveness and long-term opportunities. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 12, 44–53.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Ryan, R. M., & Frederick, C. (1997). On energy, personality, and health: subjective vitality as a dynamic reflection of well-being. Journal of Personality, 65, 529–565.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Salovey, P., Mayer, J. D., Goldman, S. L., Turvey, C., & Palfai, T. P. (1995). Emotional attention, clarity, and repair: exploring emotional intelligence using the trait meta-mood scale. In J. W. Pennebaker (Ed.), Emotion, disclosure, & health (pp. 125–154). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Seiffge-Krenke, I. (1990). Coping style in adolescence: a cross-cultural study. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 21, 351–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Shahrokh, N. C., & Hales, R. E. (2003). American psychiatric glossary. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Pub.Google Scholar
  53. Shapiro, S. L., Brown, K. W., & Biegel, G. M. (2007). Teaching self-care to caregivers: effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on the mental health of therapists in training. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 1, 105–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Shapiro, S. L., & Carlson, L. E. (2009). The art and science of mindfulness: integrating mindfulness into psychology and the helping professions. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Stahl, B., Goldstein, E., Kabat-Zinn, J., & Santorelli, S. (2010). A mindfulness-based stress reduction workbook. Oakland, CA: Harbinger.Google Scholar
  56. Struthers, C. W., Perry, R. P., & Menec, V. H. (2000). An examination of the relationship among academic stress, coping, motivation, and performance in college. Research in Higher Education, 41, 581–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tangney, J. P., Baumeister, R. F., & Boone, A. L. (2004). High self-control predicts good adjustment, less pathology, better grades, and interpersonal success. Journal of Personality, 72, 271–324.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Walach, H., Lynch, S., & Marie-Louise, G. (2008). Mindfulness-based coping with university life (MBCUL): a randomised wait-list controlled study [supplement 1]. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 1, 40–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Whitlock, J. L., Powers, J. L., & Eckenrode, J. (2006). The virtual cutting edge: the internet and adolescent self-injury. Developmental Psychology, 42, 407–417.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Winkelman, M. (1994). Culture shock and adaptation. Journal of Counseling and Development, 73(2), 121–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Woods, A. M., Racine, S. E., & Klump, K. L. (2010). Examining the relationship between dietary restraint and binge eating: differential effects of major and minor stressors. Eating Behaviors, 11, 276–280.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Zaleski, E. H., Levey-Thors, C., & Schiaffino, K. M. (1998). Coping mechanisms, stress, social support, and health problems in college students. Applied Developmental Science, 2(3), 127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Zivin, K., Eisenberg, D., Gollust, S. E., & Golberstein, E. (2009). Persistence of mental health problems and needs in a college student population. Journal of Affective Disorders, 117, 180–185.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas K. Canby
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ian M. Cameron
    • 2
  • Amrit T. Calhoun
    • 3
  • Gregory M. Buchanan
    • 4
  1. 1.NorthamptonUSA
  2. 2.East GreenwichUSA
  3. 3.EugeneUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyBeloit CollegeBeloitUSA

Personalised recommendations