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Feasibility and Acceptability of an Online Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Stress Reduction and Psychological Wellbeing of University Students in Pakistan: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial.

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Sarfraz, Anum 
Siddiqui, Salma 
Sikander, Siham 


The rise in mental health concerns of university students is causing a serious hinderance to their wellbeing, impeding their functioning. The socio-economic and political friction in low- and middle-income countries adds to their vulnerability and calls for a cost-effective indigenous intervention. Consequently, this study aimed to inform a large definitive trial by assessing the feasibility and acceptability of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) design evaluating a culturally adapted online Mindfulness Training Course (MTC) used to improve stress and wellbeing among Pakistani university students. A two-arm pilot randomized controlled trial was conducted. University students (n = 156) were randomly assigned to either the MTC group (n = 80) or Wait-list (WL) control group (n = 76) and completed baseline and post-intervention self-report measures for mindfulness, stress and psychological wellbeing. Additionally, semi-structured interviews were conducted with consenting MTC group participants (n = 18) to explore their views about MTC, employing reflexive thematic analysis. Of 80 participants randomized to the MTC group, 32 completed the course, whereas, from the 156 randomized participants, 102 completed assessment surveys. Feasibility and acceptability indicators showed high recruitment, compliance, and adherence to MTC, with practical steps for randomization and online data collection. Further results showed higher levels of mindfulness and psychological wellbeing and lowered stress levels in the MTC group compared to the control group. The attrition and dropout rates were high; however, the feedback from participants who completed the MTC was highly positive and encouraging. In conclusion, if the trial proceeds with increased outreach in a large-scale RCT, the recruitment might be revised to reduce attrition rates. Further recommendations are discussed.



mindfulness, psychological wellbeing, stress, young adults, Humans, Mindfulness, Pakistan, Feasibility Studies, Pilot Projects, Universities, Students, Stress, Psychological

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Int J Environ Res Public Health

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