Influences of Mindfulness on African American Stress Levels and Academic Success

Leah Clark

Abstract


The purpose of this study is to test the theory of motivation that relates mindfulness to the stress levels and academic success of African-American students, controlling for maturity for 61 participants at Clark Atlanta University. Academic success is operationally defined by semester grade point averages (GPA) during both midterms, and finals weeks. Past research on mindfulness indicated that mindfulness-based interventions can help decrease substance dependency in response to negative emotional states. This study is unique because it focuses on African-American college students with life stressors, whereas most studies conducted on mindfulness focus on wider populations, or on African-Americans who abuse substances as an emotional coping mechanism. The current study allowed the student principle investigator to collect data intentionally from current HBCU students. The hypothesis of the study indicated that mindfulness lowers stress levels; thus increasing a clearer academic focus, academic tenacity and higher levels of academic success. Participants were openly given the option to participate in the study. The data collection method included distributions of a Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) survey, Academic Self Efficacy Scale, & Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaires observing levels of participants’ daily mindfulness. Surveys were administered by the student principal investigator via online access. Results indicated that more daily mindful participants are more moderate in their stress levels, and feel more emotionally equip when handling unexpected events. Implications of the results for future studies include exposure to intentional practices of mindfulness, studying academic success and stress management improvement. Self-efficacy scales can also be administered at the beginning of participants’ semesters in order to attest for academic motivations, attitudes, and achievement. This study’s results can contribute to the field of positive psychology, initiating positive change as an alternative coping mechanism for African-American college students with high stressors and stress levels.

Keywords: stress, mindfulness, exposure, success, tenacity.


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