Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2018

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the impact of a 6-week yoga and meditation intervention on college students’ stress perception, anxiety levels and mindfulness skills.

Methods. College students participated in a 6-week pilot program consisting of a 60-minute vinyasa yoga class followed by guided meditation once weekly, delivered by trained faculty at the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy. Students completed pre- and post-questionnaires to evaluate changes in the following outcomes: stress levels, anxiety levels, and mindfulness skills. The questionnaire was comprised of three self reporting tools: Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ). Changes from baseline were assessed using numerical and categorical scales (low, medium, and high).

Results. Seventeen participants (ages 19-23) completed the study. Thirteen participants were female, and four were male. Nine of the students were enrolled in the PharmD program and eight from other majors. Anxiety and stress scores decreased while total mindfulness increased, with all changes statistically significant. Categorical pre-post data from BAI and PSS were statistically significant with no students reported being in the “high” category of both stress and anxiety post intervention.

Conclusion. Students demonstrated a reduction in stress and anxiety levels after completing a 6-week yoga and meditation program preceding final exams. Results suggest adopting a mindfulness practice for as little as once per week may reduce stress and anxiety in college students. Higher education may consider the inclusion of nonpharmacologic methods, such as yoga and meditation, to support student self-care.

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