Examining the impact of a short-term mindfulness intervention on resilience and symptoms of psychological distress in a first-year university classroom
Master of Science
Depressive symptoms and university students
Mental health among students
MetadataShow full item record
Background: The high prevalence of poor mental health has become a serious concern in today’s global society. One adverse form of mental health is psychological distress which involves anxiety, depression, and/or stress related symptoms. University students have reported that their daily lives are significantly impacted by psychological distress and have attributed that distress to university and the associated lifestyle. In response to this issue, resilience is being researched increasingly with promising results as a method for decreasing symptoms of psychological distress in university students. Students with high resilience are better suited to handle academic demands when compared to their less resilient counterparts as university is a time of transition and can be especially challenging during the first-year. The university student age group, 18-24 years, is considered a transitional stage in development as students are moving from the end of adolescence into early adulthood. As a result, this time period can be accompanied by high levels of psychological distress due to the many changes associated with beginning university. A number of intervention strategies have been used to reduce symptoms of psychological distress in university students; however, they are often lengthy and require a substantial time commitment from participants. One strategy that can be integrated regularly throughout the day and adapted to personal schedules and commitments is mindfulness. Used increasingly in recent years to enhance resilience and reduce psychological distress, mindfulness involves being intentionally aware of what is happening in the present, not making judgements about the experience, and paying attention to the moment. By using mindfulness strategies to increase resilience, students may become more competent in managing the varying and complex demands associated with university life, and experience decreases in symptoms of psychological distress. While a growing body of mindfulness-focused intervention studies aimed at enhancing resilience and reducing psychological distress exist, they are typically eight weeks in length, which often leads to high attrition and low adherence to practice. A need for the development and implementation of mindfulness-based interventions that are shorter in duration in non-clinical settings exists. Additionally, most mindfulness interventions use a quantitative research design. No studies to date have used a mixed methods research design to examine the effects of short-term mindfulness interventions on resilience and symptoms of psychological in a first-year classroom setting, delivered in collaboration with a Canadian university’s health and wellness centre.