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08-11-2014 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 5/2015

Mindfulness 5/2015

Mindfulness in Higher Education: Awareness and Attention in University Students Increase During and After Participation in a Mindfulness Curriculum Course

Mindfulness > Uitgave 5/2015
Esther I. de Bruin, Renée Meppelink, Susan M. Bögels


This study assessed the effects of a mindfulness course in the curriculum of international students (n = 104) from 16 different countries at the University of Amsterdam. The curriculum consisted of seven weekly lectures, as well as studying scientific articles on mindfulness research and gaining some experiential learning in meditating. The primary goal of this course was not to become more mindful, but to learn about the origins and the applications of mindfulness in (child) psychiatry. Students filled in the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) at “wait-list,” pre-course, post-course, and at 7 weeks follow-up. Multilevel analyses showed that mindful awareness decreased during wait-list (d = −0.11), increased from pre-course to post-course (d = 0.36), and even more so from pre-course to follow-up (d = 0.53). Differential effects for students from within and outside the Netherlands are discussed as well as for “meditator” versus “novice” students. International students and meditators showed an increase in mindfulness already during the course, whereas Dutch students and novices only reported an increase in mindfulness at follow-up. Overall, participation in a low-intensity mindfulness course in a university’s curriculum leads to an increased non-judgmental and non-reactive stance towards student’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions, during the course period, and their mindfulness increased even further after the course period. This increased mindfulness may help them in coping with stress given the pressure they are under and may improve their performance and their quality of life.

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