Effects of Mindfulness Meditation on Perceived Levels of Stress Among College Students
Hazel, Bonita M.
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The effects of a mindfulness meditation intervention were examined among college students at a state university in the context of2 different self-report measures. We hypothesized that students in the mindfulness meditation group would report lower levels of stress and a greater sense of well-being at the end of a 13- week intervention than participants who did not receive any sort of treatment. The mindfulness group consisted of 29 students enrolled in an occupational therapy course. Participants in the mindfulness group participated in a 15-20- min meditation module conducted by a trained meditation instructor at the beginning of each class period. The meditation emphasized focus on the breath, cognitive awareness, and the present moment. Modules began during the first week of the semester and continued each week through week 13 of a 15-week semester. The control group consisted of 197 students enrolled in an introductory holistic health course and did not participate in any sort of meditation module. Participants of both groups were asked to anonymously complete a Perceived Stress Scale survey (PSS) (Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983) and Perception of Life Questionnaire (PoLQ) on a computer at the beginning and end of the semester. Participants in the mindfulness meditation group showed a lower mean posttest score on the PSS and a higher mean posttest score on the PoLQ. Although the scores trended in support of our hypothesis, results were not statistically significant. However, the combination of preexisting studies and the data trends f the present study suggest further and more specific research to be done in order to demonstrate the benefits of the application of mindfulness meditation in a university classroom environment. Our findings contribute to a more profound understanding of the effects of mindfulness across different measures and specific populations.