Meditation lowers stress and supports forgiveness among college students: a randomized controlled trial

J Am Coll Health. 2008 Mar-Apr;56(5):569-78. doi: 10.3200/JACH.56.5.569-578.


Objective and participants: The authors evaluated the effects on stress, rumination, forgiveness, and hope of two 8-week, 90-min/wk training programs for college undergraduates in meditation-based stress-management tools.

Methods: After a pretest, the authors randomly allocated college undergraduates to training in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR; n = 15), Easwaran's Eight-Point Program (EPP; n = 14), or wait-list control (n = 15). The authors gathered pretest, posttest, and 8-week follow-up data on self-report outcome measures.

Results: The authors observed no post-treatment differences between MBSR and EPP or between posttest and 8-week follow-up (p > .10). Compared with controls, treated participants (n = 29) demonstrated significant benefits for stress (p < .05, Cohen's d = -.45) and forgiveness (p < .05, d = .34) and marginal benefits for rumination (p < .10, d = -.34).

Conclusions: Evidence suggests that meditation-based stress-management practices reduce stress and enhance forgiveness among college undergraduates. Such programs merit further study as potential health-promotion tools for college populations.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*