Mindfulness

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 179–188 | Cite as

Mindfulness and the College Transition: The Efficacy of an Adapted Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Intervention in Fostering Adjustment among First-Year Students

  • Taylor R. Ramler
  • Linda R. Tennison
  • Julie Lynch
  • Patsy Murphy
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

Recent years have witnessed a marked proliferation in the interest in and relevant literature pertaining to the practice of mindfulness. In light of this trend and the pervasive stress common among college populations, the present study examined the efficacy of an adapted mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention in fostering adjustment among first-year students. Sixty-two (N = 62) nonvolunteer participants were assigned to either an 8-week adapted MBSR intervention (n = 30) or a control condition (n = 32). Stress and adjustment indices were gathered using diurnal salivary cortisol samples and the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ). Intervention participants further completed the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) pre- and post-intervention. Analyses indicate that mindfulness, as part of an adapted MBSR intervention, can (1) contribute to enhanced first-year adjustment across multiple domains, (2) reduce physiological stress levels, and (3) be cultivated to some degree in student populations through relatively ephemeral instruction. Moreover, male participants demonstrated significantly better adjustment in several areas relative to females. These findings underscore the need for more serious consideration of mindfulness-based practices in college environments in an effort to foster well-being in this vulnerable population. Limitations of the current study and future research considerations are discussed.

Keywords

Adjustment College students Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire Mindfulness-based stress reduction Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire Salivary cortisol 

References

  1. Adam, E. K., Vrshek-Schallhorn, S., Kendall, A. D., Mineka, S., Zinbarg, R. E., & Craske, M. G. (2014). Prospective associations between the cortisol awakening response and first onsets of anxiety disorders over a six-year follow-up. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 44, 47–59. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.02.014.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: a theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55(5), 469–480.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Arnett, J. J. (2006). Emerging adulthood: understanding the new way of coming of age. In J. J. Arnett & J. L. Tanner (Eds.), Emerging adults in America: coming of age in the 21 st century (pp. 3–19). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  4. Astin, J. A. (1997). Stress reduction through mindfulness meditation: effects on psychological symptomatology, sense of control, and spiritual experiences. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 66(2), 97–106. doi:10.1159/000289116.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Hopkins, J., Krietemeyer, J., & Toney, L. (2006). Using self-report assessment methods to explore facets of mindfulness. Assessment, 13(1), 27–45. doi:10.1177/1073191105283504.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Lykins, E., Button, D., Krietemeyer, J., Sauer, S., … Williams, J. M. G. (2008). Construct validity of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire in meditating and nonmeditating samples. Assessment, 15(3), 329-342. doi: 10.1177/1073191107313003.
  7. Baker, R. W., & Siryk, B. (1989). Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ): manual. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
  8. Bodenlos, J. S., Noonan, M., & Wells, S. Y. (2013). Mindfulness and alcohol problems in college students: the mediating effects of stress. Journal of American College Health, 61(6), 371–378. doi:10.1080/07448481.2013.805714.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: mindfulness and its role in psychological wellbeing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(4), 822–848. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.84.4.822.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Brown, K. W., Weinstein, N., & Creswell, J. D. (2012). Trait mindfulness modulates neuroendocrine and affective responses to social evaluative threat. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 37(12), 2037–2041. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.04.003.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Carlson, L. E., Speca, M., Patel, K. D., & Goodey, E. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction in relation to quality of life, mood, symptoms of stress and levels of cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) and melatonin in breast and prostate cancer patients. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 29(4), 448–474. doi:10.1016/S0306-4530(03)00054-4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Chemers, M. M., Hu, L., & Garcia, B. F. (2001). Academic self-efficacy and first-year college student performance and adjustment. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93(1), 55–64. doi:10.1037//0022-0663.93.1.55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Clinciu, A. I. (2013). Adaptation and stress for the first year university students. Procedia—social and behavioral sciences, 78, 718–722. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.04.382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Clow, A. (2004). Cortisol as a biomarker of stress. Journal of Holistic Healthcare, 1(3), 10–14.Google Scholar
  15. Cohen, S., Janicki-Deverts, D., & Miller, G. E. (2007). Psychological stress and disease. JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, 298(14), 1685–1687. doi:10.1001/jama.298.14.1685.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Credé, M., & Niehorster, S. (2012). Adjustment to college as measured by the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire: a quantitative review of its structure and relationships with correlates and consequences. Educational Psychology Review, 24(1), 133–165. doi:10.1007/s10648-011-9184-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cullen, M. (2011). Mindfulness-based interventions: an emerging phenomenon. Mindfulness, 2(3), 186–193. doi:10.1007/s12671-011-0058-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dahmus, S., & Bernardin, H. J. (1992). Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire. Measurement & Evaluation in Counseling & Development (American Counseling Association), 25(3), 139.Google Scholar
  19. Dienes, K. A., Hazel, N. A., & Hammen, C. L. (2013). Cortisol secretion in depressed and at-risk adults. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38(6), 927–940. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.09.019.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Dyson, R., & Renk, K. (2006). Freshmen adaptation to university life: depressive symptoms, stress, and coping. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62(10), 1231–1244. doi:10.1002/jclp.20295.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Enochs, W. K., & Roland, C. B. (2006). Social adjustment of college freshmen: the importance of gender and living environment. College Student Journal, 40(1), 63–73.Google Scholar
  22. Evans, S., Ferrando, S., Carr, C., & Haglin, D. (2011). Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and distress in a community-based sample. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 18, 553–558. doi:10.1002/cpp.727.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Friedlander, L. J., Reid, G. J., Shupak, N., & Cribbie, R. (2007). Social support, self-esteem, and stress as predictors of adjustment to university among first-year undergraduates. Journal of College Student Development, 48(3), 259–274. doi:10.1353/csd.2007.0024.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gerdes, H., & Mallinckrodt, B. (1994). Emotional, social, and academic adjustment of college students: a longitudinal study of retention. Journal of Counseling and Development, 72(3), 281–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Greaves-Lord, K., Ferdinand, R. F., Oldehinkel, A. J., Sondeijker, F. E. P. L., Ormel, J., & Verhulst, F. C. (2007). Higher cortisol awakening response in young adolescents with persistent anxiety problems. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 116(2), 137–144. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0447.2007.01001.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Greeson, J. M., Juberg, M. K., Maytan, M., James, K., & Rogers, H. (2014). A randomized controlled trial of Koru: a mindfulness program for college students and other emerging adults. Journal of American College Health, 62(4), 222–233. doi:10.1080/07448481.2014.887571.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Guo, Y., Wang, S., Johnson, V., & Diaz, M. (2011). College students’ stress under current economic downturn. College Student Journal, 45(3), 536–543.Google Scholar
  28. Hammen, C. (2005). Stress and depression. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 1, 293–319. doi:10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.1.102803.143938.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Hellhammer, D. H., Wüst, S., & Kudielka, B. M. (2009). Salivary cortisol as a biomarker in stress research. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34(2), 163–171. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2008.10.026.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York: Delacorte Press.Google Scholar
  31. Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 144–156. doi:10.1093/clipsy/bpg016.Google Scholar
  32. Keyes, K. M., Hatzenbuehler, M. L., Grant, B. F., & Hasin, D. S. (2012). Stress and alcohol: epidemiologic evidence. Alcohol Research: Current Reviews, 34(4), 391–400.Google Scholar
  33. Kreig, D. B. (2013). High expectations for higher education? Perceptions of college and experiences of stress prior to and through the college career. College Student Journal, 47(4), 635–643.Google Scholar
  34. Ludwig, D. S., & Kabat-Zinn, J. (2008). Mindfulness in medicine. JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, 300(11), 1350–1352.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 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: Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress, 27(5), 365–375. doi:10.1002/smi.1382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Marcus, M. T., Fine, P. M., Moeller, F. G., Khan, M. M., Pitts, K., Swank, P. R., & Liehr, P. (2003). Change in stress levels following mindfulness-based stress reduction in a therapeutic community. Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment, 2(3), 63–68. doi:10.1097/00132576-200302030-00001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Matousek, R. H., Dobkin, P. L., & Pruessner, J. (2010). Cortisol as a marker for improvement in mindfulness-based stress reduction. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 16(1), 13–19. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2009.06.004.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Mattanah, J. F., Hancock, G. R., & Brand, B. L. (2004). Parental attachment, separation-individuation, and college student adjustment: a structural equation analysis of mediational effects. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 51(2), 213–225. doi:10.1037//0022-0167.51.2.213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mounsey, R., Vandehey, M. A., & Diekhoff, G. M. (2013). Working and non-working university students: anxiety, depression, and grade point average. College Student Journal, 47(2), 379–389.Google Scholar
  40. Murphy, M. J., Mermelstein, L. C., Edwards, K. M., & Gidycz, C. A. (2012). The benefits of dispositional mindfulness in physical health: a longitudinal study of female college students. Journal of American College Health, 60(5), 341–348. doi:10.1080/07448481.2011.629260.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Nagurney, A. J. (2007). The effects of relationship stress and unmitigated communion on physical and mental health outcomes. Stress and Health: Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress, 23(4), 267–273. doi:10.1002/smi.1146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 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(5), 569–578.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Philippot, P., & Segal, Z. (2009). Mindfulness based psychological interventions: developing emotional awareness for better being. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 16(10–12), 285–306.Google Scholar
  44. Pickert, K. (2014). The art of being mindful. Time, 183(4), 40–46.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Pohorecky, L. A. (1991). Stress and alcohol interaction: an update of human research. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 15(3), 438–459. doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.1991.tb00543.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Pritchard, M. E., Wilson, G. S., & Yamnitz, B. (2007). What predicts adjustment among college students? A longitudinal panel study. Journal of American College Health, 56(1), 15–21.CrossRefPubMedGoogle 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), 1–11. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2012.11.026.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Roberts, K. C., & Danoff-Burg, S. (2010). Mindfulness and health behaviors: is paying attention good for you? Journal of American College Health, 59(3), 165–173. doi:10.1080/07448481.2010.484452.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Rosenzweig, S., Reibel, D. K., Greeson, J. M., Brainard, G. C., & Hojat, M. (2003). Mindfulness-based stress reduction lowers psychological distress in medical students. Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 15(2), 88–92.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Ross, S. E., Niebling, B. C., & Heckert, T. M. (1999). Sources of stress among college students. College Student Journal, 33(2), 312–317.Google Scholar
  51. Salami, S. O. (2011). Psychosocial predictors of adjustment among first year college of education students. US-China Education Review, 8(2), 239–248.Google Scholar
  52. Shapiro, S. L., Schwartz, G. E., & Bonner, G. (1998). Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on medical and premedical students. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 21(6), 581–599.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Stallman, H. M. (2010). Psychological distress in university students: a comparison with general population data. Australian Psychologist, 45(4), 249–257. doi:10.1080/00050067.2010.482109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. The American College Health Association. (2009). American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment spring 2008 reference group data report (abridged). Journal of American College Health, 57(5), 477–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Towbes, L. C., & Cohen, L. H. (1996). Chronic stress in the lives of college students: scale development and prospective prediction of distress. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 25(2), 199–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Vrshek-Schallhorn, S., Doane, L. D., Mineka, S., Zinbarg, R. E., Craske, M. G., & Adam, E. K. (2013). The cortisol awakening response predicts major depression: predictive stability over a 4-year follow-up and effect of depression history. Psychological Medicine, 43(3), 483–493. doi:10.1017/S0033291712001213.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Wintre, M. G., & Yaffe, M. (2000). First-year students’ adjustment to university life as a function of relationships with parents. Journal of Adolescent Research, 15(1), 9–37. doi:10.1177/0743558400151002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Taylor R. Ramler
    • 1
  • Linda R. Tennison
    • 1
  • Julie Lynch
    • 2
  • Patsy Murphy
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology Department, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s UniversityCollegevilleUSA
  2. 2.Communication DepartmentCollege of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s UniversityCollegevilleUSA

Personalised recommendations