Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

M. Scott DeBerard


M. Scott DeBerard


Michael Twohig


Richard E. Gordin


Mindfulness interventions have become an increasingly popular psychological intervention for mental health providers, especially in Westernized countries. Mindfulness interventions are 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, as demonstrated by an increase in awareness, attention to the present moment, or other components of mindfulness, 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, with yoga and meditation as the highest engaged practices. Although the majority of the sample reported previous mindfulness engagement, only 32% of these individuals stated continued engagement.

While no overall differences in trait mindfulness were found among respondents who had reported previous mindfulness and those who had not, there was a significant relationship between time spent in mindfulness practices and increased trait mindfulness. Individuals who spent more time in their mindfulness practice also reported higher amounts of trait mindfulness ability. These data suggest that in order for mindfulness engagement to impact trait mindfulness ability, there must be a mindfulness time engagement threshold that is 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 (DBI), were significantly positively related to increased level 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.



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