Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology

Committee Director

Robin J. Lewis

Committee Director

Scott M. Debb

Committee Member

Barbara A. Winstead

Committee Member

Paul Harrell

Committee Member

Steven Emmanuel


The concept of mindfulness has been shown to positively impact psychological well-being, and one application of mindfulness-based interventions has been the development and implementation of courses specifically for college students, a population that has been shown to be particularly vulnerable to the negative impacts of stress. While these interventions have displayed beneficial outcomes, the mechanisms of how mindfulness exerts its impact remain unclear. One potential mechanism of mindfulness’ enhancement of well-being may be through its cultivation of an adaptive coping style in which an individual becomes more likely to approach and investigate stressors rather than avoid them. In this study, an online mindfulness-based intervention for college students was developed and implemented. Course participants were assessed before and after the course to investigate the course’s impact on mindfulness, psychological well-being, and adaptive coping (defined as higher approach coping and lower avoidant coping scores), and to assess the potentially mediating role of adaptive coping in the relationship between mindfulness and psychological well-being. Results revealed significant increases in mindfulness and in one domain of psychological well-being (environmental mastery) following the course but did not reveal significant improvements in other well-being domains nor significant changes in adaptive coping. Therefore, the planned mediation analysis was not conducted. A post-hoc hierarchical regression analysis revealed significant relationships between mindfulness and adaptive coping in the hypothesized directions while controlling for participants’ scores before the course. This may indicate that participants who developed significantly in their capacity for mindfulness practice may indeed have demonstrated the impact upon adaptive coping hypothesized in this study. Future research should continue to investigate these potential changes and their impact on the often-stressful lives of college students.


The VIRGINIA CONSORTIUM PROGRAM IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY is a joint program of Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University.


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