Title

Poster Session - Managing stress in college students with mindfulness

Location

Himmarshee Room & 8th Floor Balcony

Start Time

3-10-2015 11:45 AM

End Time

3-10-2015 1:00 PM

Abstract

The years that young adults spend in academic pursuits is both exciting and overwhelming and is often characterized by a lack of occupational balance. The lived experience of college students includes high levels of stress leading to impaired physical and psychological health, diminished quality of life, poor sleep and decreased academic performance. Recent research studies have suggested that as many as many as 50% of college students experience significant levels of stress in the form of anxiety and/or depression. (Regehr, Glancy & Pitts, 2013) The National College Health Association reported a 50% increase in students reporting anxiety from 2000 to 2008 (Bergen-Cico, Possemento & Cheon, 2013). A study done by occupational therapy educators described stress levels in occupational therapy students as above average or the highest in their lives. (Pfeiffer, Kranz & Scoggin, 2008; College campuses around the world are developing programs to help students manage their stress levels, in an attempt to provide preventative interventions. Widespread interest in mindfulness-based interventions research has demonstrated the benefits of mindfulness in physical and psychological health. Jeffrey Arnett’s theory of emerging adulthood was developed that is based on research done looking at young adults’ developmental characteristics from ages 18-29. Some of these characteristics include a focus on identity exploration, instability, frequent changes in living situations, focus on self, and major life decisions about career path; they are optimistic about this stage in life and generally feel positive about all of the possibilities available. Psychiatrists Holly Rogers and Margaret Maytan at Duke University developed a mindfulness program for students based on emerging adulthood theory which they named Koru. The first randomized controlled trial of Koru (Greeson, Juberg, Maytan, James & Rogers, 2012) showed statistically significant improvements in perceived stress, sleep problems, mindfulness and self-compassion. The Koru program was implemented at a university in the southwest U.S. in the Fall of 2014 as a research study examining the effectiveness of the Koru Mindfulness Program on stress levels, sleep, self-compassion and mindfulness. A pre-test post-test cohort study design was used in this study. This presentation will describe how the Koru program was implemented and marketed, the response of students to the program, and the research findings that have emerged from the data analysis. The presenters will describe the components of the Koru program and the experiences of two occupational therapy faculty members in leading Koru groups. The implications for occupational science will be discussed as they relate to understanding the effects of the demands of college academic life. This may lead educators to increased awareness of the lack of occupational balance in students and may contribute to the development of interventions that promote healthier coping strategies in this population. Resources will be shared with participants for further learning.

Key Words: mindfulness, college students, stress

References

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.

Canby, N., Cameron, I., Calhoun, A., & Buchanan, G. (2014). A brief mindfulness intervention for healthy college students and its effects on psychological distress, self-control, meta-mood and subjective vitality. Mindfulness, November 18, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12671-014-0356-5

Greeson, J., Juberg, M., 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, 64(4), 222-233.

Pfeifer, T., Kranz, P., & Scoggin, A. (2008). Perceived stress in occupational therapy students. Occupational Therapy International, 15(4), 221-231.

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.

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Oct 3rd, 11:45 AM Oct 3rd, 1:00 PM

Poster Session - Managing stress in college students with mindfulness

Himmarshee Room & 8th Floor Balcony

The years that young adults spend in academic pursuits is both exciting and overwhelming and is often characterized by a lack of occupational balance. The lived experience of college students includes high levels of stress leading to impaired physical and psychological health, diminished quality of life, poor sleep and decreased academic performance. Recent research studies have suggested that as many as many as 50% of college students experience significant levels of stress in the form of anxiety and/or depression. (Regehr, Glancy & Pitts, 2013) The National College Health Association reported a 50% increase in students reporting anxiety from 2000 to 2008 (Bergen-Cico, Possemento & Cheon, 2013). A study done by occupational therapy educators described stress levels in occupational therapy students as above average or the highest in their lives. (Pfeiffer, Kranz & Scoggin, 2008; College campuses around the world are developing programs to help students manage their stress levels, in an attempt to provide preventative interventions. Widespread interest in mindfulness-based interventions research has demonstrated the benefits of mindfulness in physical and psychological health. Jeffrey Arnett’s theory of emerging adulthood was developed that is based on research done looking at young adults’ developmental characteristics from ages 18-29. Some of these characteristics include a focus on identity exploration, instability, frequent changes in living situations, focus on self, and major life decisions about career path; they are optimistic about this stage in life and generally feel positive about all of the possibilities available. Psychiatrists Holly Rogers and Margaret Maytan at Duke University developed a mindfulness program for students based on emerging adulthood theory which they named Koru. The first randomized controlled trial of Koru (Greeson, Juberg, Maytan, James & Rogers, 2012) showed statistically significant improvements in perceived stress, sleep problems, mindfulness and self-compassion. The Koru program was implemented at a university in the southwest U.S. in the Fall of 2014 as a research study examining the effectiveness of the Koru Mindfulness Program on stress levels, sleep, self-compassion and mindfulness. A pre-test post-test cohort study design was used in this study. This presentation will describe how the Koru program was implemented and marketed, the response of students to the program, and the research findings that have emerged from the data analysis. The presenters will describe the components of the Koru program and the experiences of two occupational therapy faculty members in leading Koru groups. The implications for occupational science will be discussed as they relate to understanding the effects of the demands of college academic life. This may lead educators to increased awareness of the lack of occupational balance in students and may contribute to the development of interventions that promote healthier coping strategies in this population. Resources will be shared with participants for further learning.

Key Words: mindfulness, college students, stress