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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Effectiveness of an integrated mindfulness-based anxiety group intervention with university students who self-report anxiety : a small-N, mixed method design Maglio, Asa-Sophia T.


Anxiety is a common mental health challenge seen at a university counselling centre. The Integrated Mindfulness-based Anxiety Group (IMAG) was a 10-session therapy program designed for use at a university counselling centre to work with university students who struggle with anxiety. IMAG integrated core mindfulness components from three prominent therapy programs; mindfulness was trained through both mindfulness meditative practices and skills. A mixed-method, Small-N design study investigated the effectiveness of the IMAG. Seventeen university students grappling with self-reported anxiety participated in this study. The dependent variables of anxiety symptoms, general clinical symptoms, and mindfulness were monitored across the study. Eleven of these participants also were interviewed three to six months after the end of the IMAG. There were four data analytic strategies used to assess effectiveness and change. First, the Participant and Group Practice Analyses showed that formal meditation techniques were the top-practiced activities in both intervention and follow-up phases; it also was shown that participants making the most change were those who practiced the longest per practice day. Second, the Small-N Visual Analyses, the principle research analysis, showed very few functional relationships between the IMAG and the three dependent variables. Third, the Within-subject analyses showed many significant changes both at the intervention’s end and during follow-up, with the average effect sizes being in the medium range. Finally, the Thematic Analysis showed themes in the categories of change, challenge, and mindfulness. The Change category contained themes pertaining to (1) the types of change experienced by the participants and (2) the contexts and criteria that seemed to support change. The Challenge category contained themes about (1) the challenges related to the practices, (2) challenges related to the group, and (3) challenges related to the context of the participants. Although there were changes shown in the Within-subject analyses, the Small-N analysis provided only weak evidence, thus no effectiveness claim can be made for the IMAG. The study’s limitations as well as future research suggestions are provided. The study’s conclusions make recommendations to improve the IMAG to make it more robust and responsive to dealing with university students struggling with anxiety challenges.

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