Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Dana Driscoll

Second Advisor

Curt Porter

Third Advisor

Daniel Weinstein

Abstract

This mixed methods study examines the impacts of participation in a four-week, once-weekly program of mindfulness intervention on the self-efficacy, management of writing anxiety, and dissertation writing productivity of advanced academic writers across the disciplines engaged in high stakes writing projects.

Data was collected from participants in the form of self-report questionnaires and interviews at three distinct stages: before participation in the intervention program (pre-intervention), immediately following the conclusion of the intervention program (post-intervention), and one month following the close of the intervention program (follow-up). Post-intervention quantitative results reveal that participants experience strong and positive changes in their self-efficacy, management of writing anxiety, self-compassion, mindfulness, and dissertation writing productivity, while their mean responses at the follow-up test indicate more modest and lasting change in all of the categories. Qualitative data results at the post-intervention and follow-up stages indicate that participants’ positive responses were due largely to the sense of constructive (though non-group therapy) community, atmosphere of non-judgment, discussion of the conditions surrounding the act of writing, and positive reinforcement of grounding mindfulness practices that constituted the intervention workshop sessions.

The results of this study have immediate implications for both the support of advanced academic writers and the field of Composition. This study suggests a number of evidence-based methods for supporting advanced academic writers across the disciplines (including thesis and dissertation writers), which can be implemented at the programmatic level in writing intensive graduate programs. A wider implication of this study pertains to methods of support for undergraduate and faculty writers across the disciplines (including undergraduate thesis writers and faculty members writing for pre-tenure, tenure-, promotion-, or publication). Finally, this study forwards a number philosophical and practical considerations for adapting the approaches and materials that were so effective for participants in the context of the present study so that they may be implemented from key sites to support academic writers in a variety of other contexts.

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