The Mindful Way through the Semester: Evaluating the feasibility of delivering an acceptance-based behavioral program online

Alison L. Sagon, Sara B. Danitz, Michael K. Suvak, & Susan M. Orsillo

Promoting mental health, preventing the development of depression, and providing treatment to first-year college students are crucial areas in need of attention and resources. Online programs may be a cost-effective and efficient way to reach a large numbers of students who may not otherwise seek out mental health services. We tested the feasibility and efficacy of an online version of a previously studied acceptance-based behavioral (ABBT) program, the Mindful Way through the Semester (MWTS), for decreasing levels of depression and enhancing acceptance in first year college students. The current study also sought to examine the impact of engagement in mindfulness and values practice on depression, as well as to replicate the finding that change in acceptance is associated with change in depression. This study also examined whether students' participation in the workshop was associated with improvements in depression in comparison to the control condition. One hundred three students were randomly assigned to either the online MWTS workshop condition or the waitlist control condition (in which the students were not contacted until follow-up). Results revealed that the workshop did not significantly affect depression or acceptance. However, changes in acceptance were negatively associated with changes in depression (i.e., larger increases in acceptance were associated with larger decreases in depression) across conditions. Lastly, level of engagement in mindfulness and values practice was significantly associated with decreases in depression in the workshop condition. Implications of these findings for future interventions are discussed.

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