Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Valerie Gunter

Second Advisor

J. Beth Mabry

Third Advisor

Melanie Hildebrant

Fourth Advisor

Mark Lepore


The volume of research concerning mindfulness has grown in recent years, however few researchers have specifically explored the effects on undergraduate students utilizing a four-week mindfulness-based intervention (MBI). In the proposed study, a specialized four-week MBI curriculum was offered to the general population of undergraduates attending a rural, public university and the researcher explored students’ experiences in a qualitative format.

This study synthesizes portions of conceptual lenses of habitus (Bourdieu, 1984), the stress process (Pearlin, Menaghan, Lieberman, & Mullan, 1981), and symbolic interaction (Blumer, 1969), to investigate students’ utilization of newly learned mindfulness and meditation skills. Findings from the study reveal that students learn to cultivate adaptive behaviors and purposefully assign meaning to events, thereby moderating the negative impact of stressors on their well-being. The practices have positive impacts on other important outcomes. Students gained insight about themselves and reported improved coping skills, problem solving and academic engagement. Results from the study also show that students enjoyed learning new skills while appreciating something unique during a four-week MBI; a sense of being that is palpable and a deeper connection to those around them.

The detailed descriptions of students’ experiences is to promote practitioners, administrators, and students understanding of the multiple benefits of an MBI in the undergraduate context. The hope is that in the future, MBI will be utilized for undergraduate students to aid in academic and overall life endeavors.