Effects of guided mindfulness meditation on anxiety and stress in a pre-healthcare college student population: a pilot study

J Am Coll Health. Aug-Sep 2020;68(6):666-672. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2019.1590371. Epub 2019 Apr 2.

Abstract

Objective: To identify the effects of guided mindfulness meditation on anxiety and stress in pre-healthcare college students. Participants: Students (n = 33, age 19-22 years) were tested between September and November of 2017. Methods: Students completed 5-12 minutes of meditation 6 days/week for 8 weeks. We examined differences in pre- and post-intervention stress, anxiety, mindfulness, and heart rate variability. Results: All variables significantly improved after the intervention. When broken into quartiles based on minutes of meditation, groups 1 (0-184 min, p = 0.044) and 2 (184.1-268 min, p = 0.042) significantly increased mindfulness after the intervention. Group 3 (268-350 min) significantly decreased state anxiety (p = 0.015) and increased mindfulness (p = 0.029). Group 4 (350.24-424.05 min) decreased stress (p = 0.003), state anxiety (p = 0.007), trait anxiety (p = 0.003), and increased mindfulness (p = 0.007). Conclusion: Five to twelve minutes of daily mindfulness meditation is associated with decreased stress and anxiety, and increased mindfulness with greater changes observed following more minutes of meditation.

Keywords: Mindfulness meditation; anxiety; heart rate variability; pre-healthcare; stress.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / prevention & control*
  • Depression / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation / psychology*
  • Mindfulness*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Universities
  • Young Adult