Our study on the effects of mindfulness-based therapy in regards to those effected by anxiety will focus on college students. Our sample is specifically Kennesaw State University’s students, due to how easy they would be for us to access. Any Kennesaw State University student is eligible to participate in the study, regardless of age, sex, gender, ethnicity, etc., as long as they believe that they themselves suffer from an anxiety-based disorder, show symptoms of such, or have been clinically diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.Anxiety will be defined in this study as a set of emotions characterized by feelings of tension, worrying, and various physical changes, such as increased blood pressure, shortness of breath, increased rate of heart beats per minute, etc. (Kazdin, 2000).Since this study will be based around group therapy sessions, it will not require a large amount of participants. Twenty to thirty should be enough in this case, and shall be recruited via flyers spread across the university’s campus, as well as sending a mass email to every student’s university address. Once recruited, students will be informed of what the six-month therapy session will entail, such as its group-based structure, what mindfulness is, and more. Those that are recruited who last the full six months in the study will receive compensation in the form of being able to register for the upcoming semester’s classes earlier than other students.
The survey that will be used in this study is the DASS-21 (Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale). The DASS-21 was selected because it is a shorter version of the Lovebond’s (1995) DASS of 45 questions. The scale is also easily obtainable, and has been used in many different studies, both clinical and non-clinical, to measure depression, anxiety, and stress. Thescale is Likert based, ranging from 0(meaning there is no effect) to 3(meaning there is a significant affect)(Mahmound, Staten, Hall, & Lennie, 2012). There are seven parts within the DASS-21, with four different answer choice, and is a self-reporting based system. To make sure the DASS-21 is equivalent to the DASS-42, each score is multiplied by two (Ronk, Korman, Hooke, & Page, 2013). According to Osman et al. (2012), “…it is not only a distress measure, but rather a measure of the shared causes across anxiety, depression, and stress characterized as a distinct syndrome.” The DASS-21 has been used multiple times by numerous researchers, and has been proven to be reliable due to it standing the test of time.
Our recruits will be asked to take a pre-test of sorts before therapy sessions begin. Using the aforementioned DASS-2, participants will take a test to measure their anxiety levels. After collecting the results, the participants will start their first group therapy session. Over the course of six months, the subjects will go to the group therapy sessions once a month, at the start of each month. Said therapy sessions will be conducted by a trained professional counselor, who will focus the sessions around the idea of mindfulness. According to the American Psychological Association, mindfulness is referred to as a psychological state of awareness and focusing on the present, instead of past or potential future events. After the six sessions, there will be a post-test, again using the DASS-21, to see if the therapy sessions had an effect on the subject’s anxiety levels. There are, however, many different extraneous variables that can occur to affect anxiety levels. Different negative life events could happen to our participants, such as a family member dying, financial difficulties, and more. As a result, these could spike anxiety levels in an unpredictable manor, and could cause skewed results on the post tests.This could also work in the opposite way, with a significantly happy event happening to a subject that causes anxiety levels to go down, not because of the therapy sessions and mindfulness exercises. Unfortunately in this situation, there is no way to control for these extraneous variables, unless we ask the counselor to ask the participants if any significant events had happened in their lives each month, and this could be asking too much from the participants, who may not want to open up about particularly personal events.
We will use a dependent t-test for paired samples to analyze the data. Because a repeated measures design will be used for the study, the dependent t-test for paired samples will be the best fit for analysis as it will be able to analyze both the pre-test and post-test means and their differences. Satisfied requirements for this analysis include two samples that will be of equal size and samples that are dependent and paired.