Mindfulness training for medical and psychology students
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AbstractMedical and clinical psychology students strive to be good professionals. In addition to acquiring academic knowledge and skills, they also need to build affective and inter-personal capacities. Doing so will help them to secure both their own health and well-being, and to improve their ability to help the patients they serve. Systematic reviews have shown, however, that a large proportion of such students suffer from mental distress and low quality of life: burnout increases towards the latter part of their studies and persists in their professional careers. Finding ways to promote student well-being and strengthen their coping abilities is therefore of increasing interest and importance. Mindfulness training has been identified as a potentially valuable intervention for students. This thesis explores the evidence base for one method of mindfulness training for students, known as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and analyses the results of a two-centre RCT conducted at the Universities of Oslo and Tromsø, Norway. The first paper is a general review and meta-analysis of the effects of MBSR training programmes for adults. The review shows that MBSR training has a moderate and consistent effect on a number of measures of mental health for a wide range of target groups. The effects observed were similar in clinical and non-clinical populations, including students. The second paper presents the pre- to post-intervention results of an MBSR RCT conducted in Norway, with a sample of 288 medical and psychology students. The trial showed that the intervention had a moderate effect on mental distress, and a small effect on both subjective well-being and the mindfulness facet ‘non-react’, compared to the control group. Only female students showed significant effects; they also reported reduced study stress and an increase in the mindfulness facet ‘non-judge’. The third paper explores the issue of which students benefited most from the MBSR programme. Our analysis shows that the personality factors of neuroticism and conscientiousness interacted with the effects of the MBSR intervention on mental distress, subjective well-being, and study stress. Increased effects were noted among students with higher stress vulnerability. This thesis reports on additional study results related to empathy and coping. An increase in the coping style of problem solving was observed following the training. Together, these results indicate that mindfulness training is a feasible way to decrease levels of mental distress among students and improve their well-being. Mental distress is prevalent in student populations, and we therefore recommend further intervention trials of this kind in higher education settings.
List of papers
|Paper I: Michael de Vibe, Arild Bjørndal, Elizabeth Tipton, Karianne Hammerstrøm, Kristina Kowalski. Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) for improving health, quality of life, and social functioning in adults. Campbell Systematic Review 2012, 3. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The published version of this paper is available at: https://doi.org/10.4073/csr.2012.3|
|Paper II: Michael de Vibe, Ida Solhaug, Reidar Tyssen, Oddgeir Friborg, Jan H. Rosenvinge, Tore Sørlie, Arild Bjørndal. Mindfulness Training for Stress Management: A Randomised Controlled Study of Medical and Psychology Students. BMC Medical Education; 13: 107. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The published version of this paper is available at: https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6920-13-107|
|Paper III: Michael de Vibe, Ida Solhaug, Reidar Tyssen, Oddgeir Friborg, Jan H. Rosenvinge, Tore Sørlie, Even Halland, Arild Bjørndal. Does personality moderate the effects of mindfulness training for medical and psychology students? Mindfulness. October 2013. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The published version of this paper is available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-013-0258-y|