Psychological distress in students who study in university is not new and it is often reported that it is more and relatively more diverse in them when compared to the general population. It is often attributed to the fact that the professional training they are undergoing is more related to the cause of stress, deterioration in mental health and leads to unhealthy behaviours. Students depending on their level of understanding try to adopt strategies as a method of management of the stress they are facing. One such approach is mindfulness training which has been effective in psychological illness in which a person creates a state of mindfulness which can help in relaxation and further reduction of stress. The present study was conducted with an aim to explore the lived experience of the students who underwent intervention for mindfulness of six weeks during the pre-clinic semester.
Appraisal of a research paper includes that authorship which is present should be of proper authorship and it should be of good quality. Generally, the authorship information is such that it informs the reader of the credentials of authors, their current affiliations and the information provided should be such that the credibility of the authors can be established (Stenseth & Strømsø, 2019). In the present article that has been selected it is seen that there are four authors and three of who are members of faculty in a university (McConville et al., 2019). Two of them have a degree in psychology, the lead author is a physiotherapist and one of them practices general medicine. The authorship can be called credible as they are all from the background of medicine. The authors have disclosed that there was no conflict of interest which is a show of quality authorship as it means the results were formed unanimously.
Research Question & Justification
McConville et al. (2019) in the present study aimed to explore the experiences of the students who were given intervention for the mindfulness for six weeks which was done the semester before the start of their clinic. The authors have mentioned in the introduction of the justification as to how the research question was arrived at. In the background, the importance of mindfulness and important definitions has been mentioned. In the background, the authors have mentioned that there is no available literature on the studies related to the mindfulness in physiotherapy students. Hence, the research question is justified.
The authors have used a qualitative research design and the further analytic method was used for the identification of the themes as reported by the study participants (McConville et al., 2019). Lived-experience is a qualitative experience and the research design is appropriate for the research question (Alase, 2017). Qualitative research design is essentially exploratory research in which a previously unexplored area and data collected is such that it can help in further research (O'Leary, 2017). In a qualitative study, there is a formation hypothesis which can be proved by conduction of quantitative research. As the authors have mentioned the mindfulness intervention to reduce the stress was not explored in physiotherapy students and by conduction of this study the experience of the students can be understood. There is a particular kind of biases which can be seen in this particular study and they are Hawthorne effect and social desirability bias both of which can affect the result of the study.
Two interventions were developed and administered to the students by the psychologist. The participants who agreed to the intervention were randomly allocated to either mindful stress reduction or mindful movement. The interventions were given to the students by a clinical psychologist. After the interventions were over the students were interviewed for their experience at the end of the semester but before examinations (McConville et al., 2019). Open-ended questions were used for the interviews and the sessions were audio-recorded and on an average 46 minutes were required for each interview. For a qualitative interview, open-ended question is a good choice as it allows the study participants to speak openly about their choices and data collected is rich in information (Moser & Korstjens, 2018).
Results and Limitations
The result of the present study reflected that study participant gained self-awareness which improved mental health, self-care and communication. The themes derived were- increase in self-awareness, mental health, self-care, communication, study engagement and awareness of movement (McConville et al., 2019). Improvement in listening and communication was reported by the students in mindful movement group. Students of both the groups reflected that mindfulness was helpful in the reduction of stress and it enabled the students to take up more healthy habits. The authors reported in the article that there were a few limitations to the present study. First, the number of students was limited and the effect on the whole population of physiotherapy students could not be established. Second, contamination between the groups can occur as they will interact and the things taught can be transmitted which can influence the result (McConville et al., 2019).
In the present scenario, both the students have varied thought on the effectiveness of the mindfulness in the reduction of the stress in university students. Since this is the first study which was conducted in the present context. The authors have concluded that despite the limitations the present study has provided insight into the psychology of the students and that mindfulness can be used as an intervention to reduce the stress among student (McConville et al., 2019). To make sure that all the students get the same or similar intervention to reduce the stress due to clinical and course work it is important that various factors are considered. The enablers in the present context can be the requirement or demand of the student at the level of individual university or colleges.
The authors have suggested that in the future research or study the self-reported scales, biomarkers for stress, the academic performance of the students and rating of the observer as the measurement of outcome could be done. The barriers to the implementation of mindfulness at the university level can be done only if the potential barriers are overcome. The barrier can be at the level of students, at the university level and that the level of education administration or policymakers. At the level of the student, not all the students feel that they are stressed and might need intervention for the same. At the level of the university, including a regular session of the mindfulness as therapy can take time out of the regular course work which might not be feasible. Before it can be included in the regular course further research is required.
Stress is a psychological problem which can affect people. In the present article, the authors have discussed the importance of mindfulness in the improvement of psychological health is required for the reduction of stress. The critical appraisal reflected that the intervention of mindfulness is can help in the reduction of stress and take up better health-related behaviour. The biases could influence the results. This was a qualitative study and further research is required before it can be implemented in the regular course.
Alase, A. (2017). The interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA): A guide to a good qualitative research approach. International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies, 5(2), 9-19. DOI: 10.7575/aiac.ijels.v.5n.2p.9.
McConville, J., Lewis, D., Chambers, R., & Hassed, C. (2019). Physiotherapy student experience of a mindful movement and a mindful stress-reduction intervention: A qualitative study. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy, 47(3). DOI: 10.15619/NZJP/47.3.05.
Moser, A., & Korstjens, I. (2018). Series: Practical guidance to qualitative research. Part 3: Sampling, data collection and analysis. European Journal of General Practice, 24(1), 9-18. DOI: 10.1080/13814788.2017.1375091.
O'Leary, Z. (2017). The essential guide to doing your research project. Sage.
Stenseth, T., & Strømsø, H. I. (2019). To Read or Not to Read: A Qualitative Study of Students’ Justifications for Document Selection in Task-Oriented Reading. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 63(5), 771-788. DOI: 10.1080/00313831.2018.1434828.
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