Open J Psychiatry Allied Sci. 2018 Nov 26. [Epub ahead of print]

Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being among medical college students.

Sampath H, Biswas AG, Soohinda G, Dutta S.

Abstract

Background: Mindfulness is a qualitatively unique way of paying attention: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. Rooted in ancient Buddhist philosophy, there has been a revival of interest in mindfulness as a psychotherapeutic tool in modern psychiatry. Mindfulness-based interventions have been used to treat a wide range of psychological problems successfully and have contributed to what is known as the third wave of psychotherapy. Mindfulness is a naturally occurring trait that varies across individuals. Research has shown mindfulness to be correlated with psychological well-being. Aims: We set out to study the variations in levels of mindfulness and explore its facets in a sample of undergraduate medical college students and analyse its association with depression, anxiety, and stress. Methods: In a sample of 150 students who provided informed consent, the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) were administered to assess mindfulness and psychopathology respectively. Results: There were individual differences in levels of mindfulness as a trait. Mindfulness was associated with significantly lower levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. Among the facets of mindfulness, acting with awareness and non-judging were associated with significantly lower levels of all forms of psychopathology studied. Describing facet was associated with significantly lower levels of depression. Conclusion: Mindfulness is an inherent trait with inter-individual differences. The stressors of medical education that impact on the psychological well-being of students can be buffered by enhancing mindfulness. Research on the impact of integrating mindfulness training in medical education in the Indian context is needed.

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