Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Date Information

May 2017

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Darlene Crone-Todd

Second Advisor

Benjamin Miller

Third Advisor

Ryan Snyder

Abstract

The high stress and anxiety levels reported by college students are a concern for many students pursuing a degree. Meditation is a research-supported method of reducing stress and anxiety. While many students would like to learn how to meditate, it is difficult to do so without some form of instruction. The present study uses behavioral fading procedures to gradually diminish the use of verbal and audio prompts in a guided meditation program to eventually transfer stimulus control from the prompts to the participants themselves to meditate successfully on their own. The goals of the present study were to increase the probability of maintaining a frequent practice of meditation, and to increase the participants’ success in meditating. Success in meditating was defined by the participants’ decrease in heart rate, along with the number of fidgeting behaviors they emitted in each session. The participants (n=6) were introduced to the fading procedures at different times, using a multiple baselines across participants (MBAP) design. Physically recorded measures indicate that the program decreased participants’ overall resting heart rate as well as their heart rate within sessions, fidgeting behaviors during meditation, and their self-reported anxiety levels. Further, some of the participants persisted with their meditation practice after the study was terminated. However, overall stress levels appeared to remain the same across the program. These results imply that a MBAP design that uses fading procedures for this limited amount of time is effective in decreasing heart rate and anxiety levels, but not stress levels.

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