Four days of mindfulness meditation training for graduate students: A pilot study examining effects on mindfulness, self-regulation, and executive function
Keywords:Mindfulness, Meditation, Self-Regulation, Executive Function, Higher Education
AbstractSelf-regulation facilitates coping with academic stress and demands. This pilot study examined the effects of four consecutive mindfulness meditation classes on self-regulation and executive function in graduate students. Self-report measures of mindfulness, self-regulation, and executive functions were completed before and after the mindfulness classes. Paired t-tests compared pre-post training scores and effect sizes were calculated using Cohen’s d. A sample of 8 psychology graduate students (7 female) volunteered to participate in the mindfulness training. The group classes were modeled after meditation practices in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. Each class involved a specific theme: (1) Stepping Out of Automatic Pilot, (2) Awareness of the Breath, Body, Sounds, and Thoughts, (3) Mindful Movement, and (4) Working with Difficulty. Students significantly improved in mindfulness and self-regulation skills. Large effects were obtained for increases in total mindfulness, and the mindfulness facets of acting with awareness and non-reactivity to inner experiences. Additionally, large effects were calculated for total self-regulation and the self-regulatory facet of self-reinforcement. The current pilot study provides preliminary support for cultivating mindfulness skills and enhancing self-regulatory capacity in graduate students through four consecutive days of mindfulness training.
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