Efficacy of a mindfulness-based programme with and without virtual reality support to reduce stress in university students: A randomized controlled trial.

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Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishers
Document Type: Report
Length: 439 words

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Keywords University students; Mindfulness; Virtual reality; Psychological wellbeing; Stress; Randomized controlled trial Highlights * High levels of stress are often experienced by university students. * MBPs are effective for reducing perceived stress in this population. * Mindfulness and self-compassion partially mediate the long-term effects of MBP. * Virtual reality exposure may improve participants' adherence to MBPs. Abstract Objectives To evaluate the efficacy of a mindfulness-based programme (MBP) for reducing stress in university students and its action mechanisms and to explore the capacity of virtual reality (VR) exposure to enhance adherence to the intervention. Methods This randomized controlled trial (RCT) involved assessment time points of baseline, posttreatment, and 6-month follow-up. A total of 280 students from two Spanish universities were randomly assigned to 'MBP', 'MBP + VR', or 'Relaxation' (active controls). Perceived stress posttreatment was the primary outcome; wellbeing and academic functional outcomes were assessed as well. Multilevel mixed-effects models were performed to estimate the efficacy of the programme. Results Both 'MBP' (B = -2.77, d = -0.72, p = .006) and 'MBP + VR' (B = -2.44, d = -0.59, p = .014) were superior to 'Relaxation' in improving stress, as well as most of the secondary outcomes, with medium-to-large effects posttreatment and at follow-up. The long-term effects of MBPs on stress were mediated by mindfulness and self-compassion in parallel. Treatment adherence was improved in the 'MBP + VR' group, with higher retention rates and session attendance (p Conclusions This RCT supports the efficacy of an MBP compared to relaxation for reducing stress in university students through mindfulness and self-compassion as mechanisms of change. VR exposure may enhance treatment adherence. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03771300. Author Affiliation: (a) Health Research Institute of Aragon (IIS Aragón), Zaragoza, Spain (b) Primary Care Prevention and Health Promotion Research Network (RedIAPP), Zaragoza, Spain (c) Department of Psychology and Sociology, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain (d) Miguel Servet University Hospital, Zaragoza, Spain (e) AGORA Research Group; Teaching, Research & Innovation Unit, Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu, St. Boi de Llobregat, Spain (f) Department of Basic Psychology, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Cerdanyola Del Vallès, Spain (g) Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK * Corresponding author. Department of Basic Psychology, Autonomous University of Barcelona. Edifici B, 08193, Bellaterra, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain. Article History: Received 14 December 2020; Revised 13 April 2021; Accepted 15 April 2021 (footnote)1 Both authors contributed equally and should be considered co-first authors. Byline: Marta Modrego-Alarcón (a,b,c,1), Yolanda López-del-Hoyo (a,b,c,1), Javier García-Campayo (a,b,d), Adrián Pérez-Aranda [aparanda@iisaragon.es] (a,e,f,*), Mayte Navarro-Gil (b,c), María Beltrán-Ruiz (a,b), Héctor Morillo (b,c), Irene Delgado-Suarez (a,b), Rebeca Oliván-Arévalo (e), Jesus Montero-Marin (g)

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A664259791