Effectiveness of providing university students with a mindfulness-based intervention to increase resilience to stress: 1-year follow-up of a pragmatic randomised controlled trial.
Wagner, Adam Peter
J Epidemiol Community Health
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Galante, J., Stochl, J., Dufour, G., Vainre, M., Wagner, A. P., & Jones, P. (2021). Effectiveness of providing university students with a mindfulness-based intervention to increase resilience to stress: 1-year follow-up of a pragmatic randomised controlled trial.. J Epidemiol Community Health, 75 (2), 151-160. https://doi.org/10.1136/jech-2020-214390
BACKGROUND: There is concern that increasing demand for student mental health services reflects deteriorating student well-being. We designed a pragmatic, parallel, single-blinded randomised controlled trial hypothesising that providing mindfulness courses to university students would promote their resilience to stress up to a year later. Here we present 1-year follow-up outcomes. METHODS: University of Cambridge students without severe mental illness or crisis were randomised (1:1, remote software-generated random numbers), to join an 8-week mindfulness course adapted for university students (Mindfulness Skills for Students (MSS)), or to mental health support as usual (SAU). RESULTS: We randomised 616 students; 53% completed the 1-year follow-up questionnaire. Self-reported psychological distress and mental well-being improved in the MSS arm for up to 1 year compared to SAU (p<0.001). Effects were smaller than during the examination period. No significant differences between arms were detected in the use of University Counselling Service and other support resources, but there was a trend for MSS participants having milder needs. There were no differences in students' workload management; MSS participants made more donations. Home practice had positive dose-response effects; few participants meditated. No adverse effects related to self-harm, suicidality or harm to others were detected. CONCLUSION: Loss to follow-up is a limitation, but evidence suggests beneficial effects on students' average psychological distress that last for at least a year. Effects are on average larger at stressful times, consistent with the hypothesis that this type of mindfulness training increases resilience to stress. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ACTRN12615001160527.
Humans, Treatment Outcome, Follow-Up Studies, Stress, Psychological, Students, Universities, Resilience, Psychological, Mindfulness
This is a summary of research funded by the University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor’s Endowment Fund (RNER–LFHA), the University Counselling Service (no specific grant) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration East of England (ARC EoE) programme (RNAG/564).
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) (via Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) (unknown)
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External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/jech-2020-214390
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/309868
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/