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Keywords:

  • mindfulness;
  • meditation;
  • student mental health;
  • salivary cortisol;
  • salivary alpha-amylase

Abstract

The aim of this study was to explore the feasibility of implementing a new 8-week mindfulness-based programme, ‘Mindfulness-Based Coping with University Life’ (MBCUL), specifically tailored to the needs and demand of students and to explore its impact in a pilot evaluation. Participants were drawn from the University of Northampton (MBCUL N = 10; control N = 6). A non-randomized wait-list-controlled design was employed. Measures examined anxiety and depression, perceived stress, mindfulness and personally relevant change before and immediately after the programme. The diurnal profile of salivary cortisol and alpha-amylase level was collected for two consecutive days. No significant intergroup differences were observed on any of the measures at either time point. However, significant change was observed for the MBCUL group in terms of perceived stress (d = 1.06; z = −2.25, p = 0.03), anxiety (d = 1.04; z = −2.14, p = 0.03), depression (d = 0.52; z = −0.69, p = 0.5) and personally relevant change (d = 2.63; z = −2.68, p = 0.01), along with an increase in mindfulness (d = 1.06; z = −1.89, p = 0.06). In contrast, no significant change was found in the daily profiles of cortisol and alpha-amylase. The data from this pilot tentatively suggest that MBCUL appears to be a promising programme that warrants further evaluation using a randomized study with a larger sample size. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.