Mindfulness as an Alternative for Supporting University Student Mental Health: Cognitive-Emotional and Depressive Self-Criticism Measures


  • Muhammad Abid Azam
  • Myriam Mongrain York University
  • Khushboo Vora York University
  • Meysam Pirbaglou York University
  • Saam Azargive York University
  • Tina Changoor York University
  • Noah Wayne York University
  • Crissa Guglietti York University
  • Alison Macpherson York University
  • Jane Irvine York University
  • Michael Rotondi York University
  • Dawn Smith York University
  • Daniel Perez York University
  • Paul Ritvo York University




mindfulness, meditation, mental health, university students, depression


Increases in university-based mental health problems require alternative mental health programs, applicable to students with elevated psychological risks due to personality traits. This study examined the cognitive-emotional outcomes of a university mindfulness meditation (MM) program and their relationship with Self-Criticism (SC), a personality factor linked to depressive vulnerability. University students (n = 71) were assessed at baseline with the Depressive Experiences Questionnaire (DEQ), a measure of depressive personality traits, and two outcome measures: Profile of Mood States (POMS) and Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI). Students attending the MM program were reassessed for outcomes at 3 follow up assessments over 2 semesters. Repeated measures analyses of variance revealed improved within-subjects effects with large or very large effect sizes for the subsample that completed the MM program (n = 18) on the POMS Tension-Anxiety, POMS Depression, POMS Fatigue, and Anxiety Sensitivity Index. Multiple linear regression using self-criticism as a predictor of change in depressed mood revealed that higher self-criticism predicted greater reductions in POMS Depression. This study provides evidence for MM-related cognitive-emotional benefits, suggesting that students with elevated self-critical traits may derive exceptional benefits evident in greater reductions of depressed mood.


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Author Biographies

Muhammad Abid Azam

PhD. Clinical Psychology (Cand.)

MSc. Kinesiology & Health Science

Myriam Mongrain, York University

Associate Professor, Psychology

Khushboo Vora, York University

BSc. Kinesiology

Meysam Pirbaglou, York University

PhD., Kinesiology & Health Science (Cand.)

Saam Azargive, York University

MSc., Kinesiology & Health Science

Tina Changoor, York University

PhD., Psychology (Cand.)

Noah Wayne, York University

PhD., Kinesiology & Health Science

Registered Kinesiologist

Crissa Guglietti, York University

PhD., Kinesiology & Health Science

Alison Macpherson, York University

Associate Professor, Kinesiology & Health Science

Jane Irvine, York University

Professor, Psychology

Michael Rotondi, York University

Associate Professor, Kinesiology & Health Science

Dawn Smith, York University

BSc., Psychology

Daniel Perez, York University

Phd., Kinesiology & Health Science (Cand.)

Paul Ritvo, York University

Associate Professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Science, Department of Psychology, York University


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How to Cite

Azam, M. A., Mongrain, M., Vora, K., Pirbaglou, M., Azargive, S., Changoor, T., Wayne, N., Guglietti, C., Macpherson, A., Irvine, J., Rotondi, M., Smith, D., Perez, D., & Ritvo, P. (2016). Mindfulness as an Alternative for Supporting University Student Mental Health: Cognitive-Emotional and Depressive Self-Criticism Measures. International Journal of Educational Psychology, 5(2), 140–163. https://doi.org/10.17583/ijep.2016.1504




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