Researchers from the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley evaluated how two, 8-week, 90-min/wk training programs in meditation-based stress-management were able to affect stress, rumination, forgiveness, and hope in college undergraduates.

Subjects were randomly assigned to either (1) training in mindfulness-based stress reduction or MBSR (n = 15) or (2) Easwaran's Eight-Point Program or EPP (n = 14), or (3) a wait-list control condition (n = 15). Pretest, posttest, and 8-week follow-up data were collected on self-report outcome measures.

The authors observed no post-treatment differences between MBSR and EPP or between posttest and 8-week follow-up (p > .10). Compared with controls, treated participants (n = 29) demonstrated significant benefits for stress (p < .05) and forgiveness (p < .05) and marginal benefits for rumination (p < .10).

The study concludes that meditation-based stress-management practices reduce stress and enhance forgiveness among college undergraduates. Further studies are warranted, as these tools show promise as potential health-promotion tools for college populations.

Citation: Oman D, Shapiro SL, Thoresen CE, Plante TG, Flinders T. Meditation lowers stress and supports forgiveness among college students: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of American College Health. 2008 Mar-Apr; 56 (5): pages 569-78. [email protected]