Mindfulness based art therapy study protocol to determine efficacy in reducing college stress and anxiety
journal contributionposted on 2021-09-16, 04:33 authored by Theresa Van LithTheresa Van Lith, Andrea Cheshure, Scott M Pickett, Gregg D Stanwood, Megan Beerse
Abstract Background College students in Generation Z are among the most stressed of our time. Previous research suggests that current interventions on university campuses are primarily for students in crises, but supportive services like psychoeducation to introduce coping skills are scant. Interventions that take both financial and time pressures into account are needed to address the mental health challenges faced by students. This study is designed to determine the unique role of the arts as a proactive mental health strategy for college students. Methods A sample of college students in Generation Z (n = 120) will be recruited. Participants will be assigned to Arts-only, mindfulness-only, mindfulness-based art interventions or a non-intervention control group. These interventions will be delivered using a minimal contact, web-based approach. Participants will be screened for eligibility requirements prior to the inclusion in the Time 1 assessment though an online survey. Once enrolled, participants will complete the Time 1 assessment, followed by the intervention. Each assessment will consist of psychological and physiological measures. The MBAT, NCT and MO groups will complete a brief self-care task twice a week for 5 weeks. Upon completion of the assigned intervention, participants will complete a Time 2 assessment and participate in the Trier Social Stress Test. Six weeks post-intervention, participants will complete the final assessment to assess the longevity of effects of the intervention. Discussion This study will clarify the effects of Mindfulness-based Art Therapy on several biometric and physiological markers above and beyond isolated art therapy or mindfulness interventions. Qualitative data in the form of transcribed exit interviews will be analyzed to characterize the unique needs of Generation Z students, along with level of engagement, intervention acceptance and satisfaction. The results will identify the efficacy of a low-cost and easily accessible mental health intervention targeting college students experiencing stress and anxiety. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04834765, 05/17/21. Retrospectively registered.