Date of Award

December 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Stephen R Wester

Committee Members

Kim Litwack, Marty Sapp, David Klingbeil


anxiety, college students, empathy, meditation, Mindfulness, nursing


Objective: To investigate the effects of a four-week mindfulness program on levels of mindfulness, empathy, and anxiety in a group of pre-nursing students.

Methods: This study utilized a multiple-baseline across subjects design. Results from nine study participants were examined.

Results: Data demonstrates that a detectable decrease in anxiety levels can result from participation in self-directed mindfulness program as short as four weeks. Results regarding mindfulness and empathy levels were less conclusive. A specific relationship between empathy and mindfulness cannot be determined from this study.

Conclusions: Because previous studies have demonstrated a persistence of skills, practice, and benefits acquired through mindfulness training it can be concluded that individuals exposed to a four-week program will continue to develop benefits beyond those initially expressed. The incorporation of a mindfulness training into nursing curriculum is likely to yield beneficial outcomes for the students and those that they serve throughout their career. Moreover, mindfulness can be incorporated into curriculum in cost-effective and scalable ways. Despite the noted limitations of this study, the results add to the overwhelmingly positive evidence regarding the beneficial outcomes of mindfulness; no significant drawbacks or side-effects of mindfulness practice have been demonstrated. Therefore, healthcare providers and healthcare educators should give real consideration to the practice of mindfulness.