AMU/CNRS. Effective Online Mindfulness Meditation (MBM) Practice for Improving Student Mental Health During Lockdown

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The study was carried out with volunteer students from various components of Aix-Marseille University (faculty of sports sciences, Polytech Marseille, Inspé, faculty of sciences) pursuing their education from level L3 to M2 remotely, as imposed by the health measures in force during the 2nd containment linked to Covid-19, in December 2020.

First, the scientists assessed the impact of the health crisis context on mental health (stress, anxiety, depression, well-being) and attentional performance of students through the use of questionnaires and a cognitive test. on line. A significant proportion of the students surveyed had psychologically worrying scores, falling in the severe to extremely severe category (respectively 24% for stress, 20% for anxiety and 18% for depression).

In addition, 70% of them had a well-being score lower than the average for French students outside the Covid-19 period. These results confirmed the presence of an unprecedented psychological distress among students, who had to face restrictions impacting their personal, social and academic life. However, no deficit in their attentional abilities

observed, these having been potentially preserved thanks to the cognitive stimulation provided by the pedagogical continuity plan, implemented in the form of distance learning.

CPM is a secular mental practice

The researchers then investigated the effectiveness of an online mindfulness meditation (MBM) intervention to counter the psychological difficulties observed in students in this restrictive and distressing context.

CPM is a secular mental practice that is part of the current of alternative and non-drug therapies. It consists of paying attention to the present moment (thoughts, sensations, emotions), without waiting, without filters and without judgment. Half of the students included in the study were randomly assigned to an online MPC program, developed in collaboration with an online guided meditation specialist, while the other half continued their daily activities as normal. These were daily sessions, for 17 days, accessible through a secure digital space, lasting 20 minutes on weekdays and 10 minutes on weekends. They included exercises focusing on breathing, acceptance and positive emotions. At the end of the 17 days, only students who received the MPC intervention had significantly reduced levels of stress, depression, and anxiety and improved levels of well-being, relative to their baseline levels. This study raises awareness of the psychological distress of students in a pandemic context where this population was not considered at risk of the virus itself.

It also offers promising perspectives in terms of the management and prevention of psychological risks, by showing the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation (MPC) in coping with constraining periods, such as the Covid-19 health crisis. 19.

The AMU/CNRS source editorial staff

Learn more: Devillers-Réolon L, Mascret N, Sleimen-Malkoun R (2022). Online mindfulness intervention, mental health and attentional abilities: A randomized controlled trial in university students during COVID-19 lockdown. Forehead. Psychol. Sec.Positive Psychology. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.889807.

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AMU/CNRS. Effective Online Mindfulness Meditation (MBM) Practice for Improving Student Mental Health During Lockdown

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