Background: Stress is a public health issue that has costly personal and societal effects. Stress-reduction interventions, such as those integrating mindfulness practices, have demonstrated significant improvements for stress and wellbeing outcomes when delivered to small, in-person groups. The effectiveness of self-guided, web-based mindfulness programs to address barriers of in-person programs deserves more attention. Objective: The purpose of this randomized controlled trial (RCT) was to determine the effectiveness of a self-guided, web-based mindfulness program ("Sherman Project"�) in reducing perceived stress and improving wellbeing for a group of University students, staff, and faculty. Method: A randomized controlled trial was used to evaluate the effectiveness of a self-guided, web-based mindfulness program. Students, staff, and faculty from a large University were recruited to participate. Results: 192 participants were randomized to either the intervention group or the waitlist control. Participants were predominantly Caucasian females. The study was powered to detect statistically significant differences in PSS scores at the mid-assessment point. Compared to the waitlist control, the intervention group demonstrated significantly improved PSS scores at both the mid and post-assessments. The intervention group also demonstrated improved wellbeing when compared to the waitlist. Intervention participants engaged in the 7-week program for roughly 120 total minutes. A small, but non-significant association between program engagement and PSS scores was found, suggesting that as individuals engaged more in the program, perceived stress may slightly decrease. Conclusions: This RCT demonstrated effectiveness for the use of Sherman Project, a self-guided, web-based mindfulness program, to reduce perceived stress for a sample of University students, staff, and faculty. Wellbeing also showed tendency for improvement for the intervention group. Results may support the use of low-intensity, web-based mindfulness interventions as an effective option to address common access barriers of in-person services and as an efficient component of public health initiatives for stress reduction and wellbeing-promotion.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2015. Major: Nursing. Advisor: Linda Halcón. 1 computer file (PDF); xiv, 122 pages.
Randomized Controlled Trial to Evaluate a Self-Guided, Web-Based Mindfulness Program for Stress Reduction and Wellbeing Promotion.
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