Improve College Student Adjustment with Mindfulness
By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.
“Mindfulness and meditation are both great ways for students to improve their health. And the benefits of these practices can also trickle into their academic lives.” – Kenya McCullum
In the modern world education is a key for success. Where a high school education was sufficient in previous generations, a college degree is now required to succeed in the new knowledge-based economies. There is a lot of pressure on university students to excel so that they can get the best jobs after graduation. This stress might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can actually lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s physical and mental health, well-being, and school performance.
Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with reducing the physical and psychological reactions to stress and increasing resilience in the face of stress. Indeed, these practices have been found to reduce stress and improve psychological health in college students. So, mindfulness may be an important tool to enhance student’s well-being and adjustment to college.
In today’s Research News article “The Differential Role of Coping, Physical Activity, and Mindfulness in College Student Adjustment.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01858/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1401267_69_Psycho_20200811_arts_A) Moeller and colleagues recruited undergraduate students and had them complete measures of anxiety, depression, loneliness, perceived stress, coping strategies, self-esteem, physical activity, and mindfulness. These data were then analyzed with regression analysis.
They found that the higher the levels of mindful awareness and non-judgement the lower the levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, perceived stress, and disengaged coping and the higher the levels of self-esteem. Regression models predicting the student’s stress levels and their anxiety levels revealed that they were associated with disengaged coping and negatively associated with mindfulness. A regression model predicting the student’s depression levels revealed that they were associated with disengaged coping and negatively associated with engagement coping, physical activity, and mindfulness. A regression model predicting the student’s loneliness levels revealed that they were associated with disengaged coping and negatively associated with engagement coping, physical activity, and mindfulness. Finally, a regression model predicting the student’s self-esteem levels revealed that they were associated positively associated with engagement coping, physical activity, and mindfulness and negatively with disengaged coping.
These findings are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But the findings highlight the importance of mindfulness with the psychological well-being of undergraduate students. As has been seen in other studies with a variety of different participants mindfulness is associated with lower levels of negative emotional states such as anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and loneliness and higher levels of self-esteem. In other words, mindfulness in college students is a predictor of better mental health and well-being. This should allow the students to better adjust to college and be more successful in their studies.
So, improve college student adjustment with mindfulness.
“mindfulness is not something to do just because you “should” or “to be healthy”; rather, the benefits enable students to become more effective leaders who can fully enjoy their lives.” – Priya Thomas
CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies
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Moeller RW, Seehuus M, Simonds J, Lorton E, Randle TS, Richter C and Peisch V (2020) The Differential Role of Coping, Physical Activity, and Mindfulness in College Student Adjustment. Front. Psychol. 11:1858. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01858
Research has examined the function of stress management techniques, including coping, physical activity, and mindfulness on college students’ adjustment. The present study examined the differential contributions of three stress management techniques to students’ maladaptation (perceived stress, depression, anxiety, and loneliness) and adaptation (self-esteem). Undergraduate students (N = 1185) responded to an online survey. Hierarchical linear regression results indicated that all three stress management techniques – coping, physical activity, and mindfulness – were related to the five outcomes as predicted. Higher levels of disengagement coping strategies were related to higher perceived stress, anxiety, and depression. Components of mindfulness emerged as a strong predictor of adaptation.