Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
M. Scott DeBerard
Mindfulness engagement has become increasingly popular in therapeutic settings and is promising in terms of possibly reducing physical and mental health symptoms among a wide variety of clients (including college students) presenting diverse diagnoses. While a number of studies suggest that mindfulness interventions increase mindfulness ability, this assertion has not been validated because many researchers utilizing a mindfulness intervention fail to include measures assessing change in trait mindfulness ability. The present study examined mindfulness engagement and trait mindfulness, as well as physical and mental health correlates of trait mindfulness, in 300 college students (74% female) via an online survey.
Mindfulness ability in this general college population was similar to the overall mindfulness ability in the general population. Seventy-nine percent of respondents reported mindfulness engagement. Fifty-nine percent of the sample reported previous mindfulness engagement and only 32% of these individuals stated continued engagement. While no overall differences in trait mindfulness were found between respondents who had reported previous mindfulness and those who had not, individuals who spent more time in their mindfulness practice, also reported higher amounts of trait mindfulness ability. These data suggest that in order for these specific mindfulness engagements to impact trait mindfulness ability, a time engagement threshold must be met. A number of trait mindfulness variables were significantly related to a number of mental and physical health variables. However, relationships between trait mindfulness and health variables were not uniform. Multiple subscales from the Five Factor Mindfulness Scale (FFMQ) were significantly correlated with mental and physical health variables. There were few physical and mental health variables that were significantly correlated or suggested trends with the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). Increased cognitive symptoms of depression, yet nonclinically significant levels as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), were significantly positively related to increased levels of trait mindfulness ability. More efforts are needed, including, measurement of mindfulness throughout intervention, increased focus regarding the construct of mindfulness ability and novel forms for measurement, and the relationship between mindfulness ability measurement of mindfulness ability and specific mental and physical health variables.
Potts, Sarah A., "The Relationship of Trait Mindfulness and Positive Mental and Physical Health Among College Students" (2015). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 4522.
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