Purpose: To determine if participation in a Wellness-Based Mindfulness Stress Reduction intervention decreases the effect of daily hassles, psychological distress, and medical symptoms.
Design: A randomized controlled trial of a stress reduction intervention with a 3-month follow-up.
Setting: A university setting in West Virginia.
Subjects: A total of 103 adults, with 59 in the intervention group and 44 in the control group. Eight-five percent of subjects completed the intervention. Fifty-nine percent and 61% of the intervention and control subjects completed the study, respectively.
Intervention: The intervention consisted of an 8-week group stress reduction program in which subjects learned, practiced, and applied "mindfulness meditation" to daily life situations. The control group received educational materials and were encouraged to use community resources for stress management.
Measures: The Daily Stress Inventory assessed the effect of daily hassles, the Revised Hopkins Symptom Checklist measured psychological distress, the Medical Symptom Checklist measured number of medical symptoms, and a Follow-up Questionnaire measured program adherence.
Results: Intervention subjects reported significant decreases from baseline in effect of daily hassles (24%), psychological distress, (44%), and medical symptoms (46%) that were maintained at the 3-month follow-up compared to control subjects (repeated measures analysis of variance [ANOVA]; p < .05).
Conclusions: Self-selected community residents can improve their mental and physical health by participating in a stress reduction intervention offered by a university wellness program.