Tibetan Buddhist Course

February 28, 2017 by School of Medicine Webmaster

Susanna Williams and John Schorling from the Mindfulness Center collaborated with others from the UVa Department of Religious Studies and the Contemplative Sciences Center to evaluate the impact of a Tibetan Buddhist meditation course on college students’ psychological well-being.  The course was taught by Professors David Germano and Kurtis Schaeffer.  The goal of the study was to determine the impact of a semester-long Tibetan Buddhist meditation course that included weekly meditation practice sessions on participating students’ psychological well-being. A total of 205 students participated. The course included two weekly lectures on  traditional and modern applications of meditation, and a weekly contemplative practice lab. Students completed surveys that included validated measures of anxiety, compassion, coping and mindfulness at the beginning, middle, and end of the course. The participants reported statistically significant increases in mindfulness, self-compassion, and positive coping and significant decreases in anxiety from before to after the course.  Increases in mindfulness were significant predictors of changes in self-compassion and anxiety. These results suggest that a large lecture course with weekly meditation practice can have a positive impact on the psychological well-being of college students and that some of these changes are mediated by mindfulness.

Penberthy JK , Williams S, Hook, JN, Le N, Bloch J, Forsyth J, Penberthy JM, Germano D, Schaeffer K, Schorling J, Impact of a Tibetan Buddhist meditation course and application of related modern contemplative practices on college students’ psychological well-being: a pilot study. Mindfulness 2016 doi:10.1007/s12671-016-0665-y/.

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