Date of Graduation

Spring 2009

Degree

Master of Science in Psychology

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Chantal Levesque

Keywords

mindfulness, attention, awareness, stress, well-being, health

Subject Categories

Psychology

Abstract

With increased job responsibilities, stress, and environmental stimuli, many Westerners have stopped experiencing the present moment. Mindfulness refers to enhanced attention to and awareness of the present. Research on mindfulness has generally assessed clinical or overly stressed populations. The present study used a repeated measures design with a college sample (N=120) to learn whether simple mindfulness enhancement tasks, such as breathing exercises, could successfully increase state mindfulness in a healthy population. Self-reported data from participants in control and experimental conditions were collected three times over one month. Results revealed that participants in the experimental condition increased significantly in state mindfulness over time when compared to participants in the control condition. Results from self-esteem, depression, life satisfaction, and physical health measures supported the hypotheses that increased state mindfulness can positively impact well-being. Furthermore, the experimental group reported less negative outcomes during the stressful mid-term period and showed quicker recovery afterward when compared to the control group suggesting that the intervention may act as a buffer against stress. Finally, results showed that those who were low in trait mindfulness reported the greatest increases in state mindfulness and key areas of well-being at time 3, and therefore, benefited most from the intervention. Overall, the data suggest that simple mindfulness tasks can successfully foster greater attention to the present, increase personal well-being, and act as a buffer against stress for healthy individuals and particularly for those who are less naturally inclined to be mindful.

Copyright

© Kelly Joanna Copeland

Campus Only

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