Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Abigail Conley

Second Advisor

Donna Gibson

Third Advisor

Philip Gnilka

Fourth Advisor

Amanda McGann

Fifth Advisor

Michael Broda


This study investigated the two research questions, 1) what are the relationships among the pretest latent variables mindfulness, stress, and flourishing and the manifest variables GPA and retention in first-year college students in a first-year experience seminar and 2) will there be differences in mindfulness, stress, flourishing, GPA, and retention between groups of students in a first-year experience seminar who received a brief mindfulness intervention and those who did not? To answer these questions, the author analyzed secondary data collected from 373 first-year college students at a large public research university who took Introduction to the University (UNIV 101).

The study was a repeated-measures quasi-experimental nonequivalent control groups design. Eighteen instructors across 35 class sections volunteered to provide the intervention in their class, 248 first-year students (66%) made up the mindfulness group, and 125 first-year students (35%) made up the comparison group. Women made up 70% (n = 261) of the sample and males made up 30% (n = 112). Pretests and posttests included demographics, the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), the Flourishing Scale (FS), and questions asking about prior mindfulness experience (pretest) and current and potential future practices (posttest). Chi-squared tests and t-tests evaluated variances between groups in demographics and outcome variables. Only gender varied significantly.

Bivariate Pearson’s correlations of the latent variables showed 1) a significant positive relationship between mindfulness and flourishing and 2) significant negative relationships between stress and both mindfulness and flourishing. Simple regression analyses for the pretest latent variables with GPA showed a significant positive predictive relationship only between pretest flourishing and Spring GPA. The same tests run with the posttest latent variables showed 1) significant positive predictive relationships between GPA and both mindfulness and flourishing and 2) significant negative predictive relationships between stress and GPA. Only posttest flourishing positively predicted retention. For question two, a multilevel model controlling for class sections and gender showed no significant differences in any outcome variable between either group. A post hoc analysis showed that all students had significant decreases in mindfulness and flourishing at the end of the semester and a significant increase in stress.


© Elizabeth S. Bambacus

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