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A systematic review and meta-analysis of online mindfulness-based interventions for university students: An examination of psychological distress and wellbeing, and attrition rates

Alrashdi, Duaa; Chen, keyoue; Meyer, carly; Gould, Rebecca; (2024) A systematic review and meta-analysis of online mindfulness-based interventions for university students: An examination of psychological distress and wellbeing, and attrition rates. Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science 10.1007/s41347-023-00321-6. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

There are increasing concerns about university students’ mental health with mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) showing promising results. The effect of MBIs delivered digitally to a broad range of university students and study attrition rates remain unclear. This review aimed to explore the effectiveness of online MBIs on university students’ mental health, academic performance and attrition rate of online MBIs. Four databases were searched; both randomised and non-randomised controlled trials were included. Outcomes included mental health-related outcomes and academic performance. Twenty-six studies were identified with outcomes related to mental health. When compared with non-active controls, small to medium statistically significant effect sizes in favour of online MBIs were found for depression, stress, anxiety, psychological distress and psychological well-being at post-intervention. However, these benefits were not seen when online MBIs were compared to active controls and other treatments at post-intervention or follow-up. University students in online MBI arms were more likely to drop out compared to non-active controls and active controls, but no differences were found compared to other treatments. Generally, the included studies’ risk of bias was moderate to high. Online MBIs appear beneficial for improving university students’ mental health when compared to non-active controls post-intervention, but not active controls or other treatments. Findings related to active controls and other treatments should be interpreted with caution due to the small number of studies, the small number of participants in included studies and the degree of heterogeneity in effect sizes.

Type: Article
Title: A systematic review and meta-analysis of online mindfulness-based interventions for university students: An examination of psychological distress and wellbeing, and attrition rates
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s41347-023-00321-6
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s41347-023-00321-6
Language: English
Additional information: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Mindfulness, Online, Students, University, Meta-analysis, Systematic review
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry > Mental Health of Older People
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10169963
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