Stress is an increasing problem that can have negative consequences for healthcare students and professionals. The demanding expectations of health professionals begin even before they enter the healthcare workforce. Health professional students encounter intense academic curricula and engage in patient care, which can increase stress levels [1]. More than half (51.2%) of the 8,328 graduate and professional students surveyed in 2019 by the American College Health Association reported feeling more than average stress levels; a substantial fraction experienced a tremendous amount of stress (16.2%). The high stress levels of DPT students and their inability to manage them effectively may lead them to graduate and join professional physical therapy practice with risk factors and symptoms of burnout. The purpose of this quantitative correlational research study was to examine the relationship between five facets of trait mindfulness and perceived psychological stress among first-year DPT students, using the Five Factor Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) and the 10-item Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) [2], [3]. This study’s bivariate correlational analysis indicated that acting with awareness, nonjudging of inner experience, and nonreactivity to inner experience facets of trait mindfulness were negatively correlated at a statistically significant level with students’ overall perceived psychological stress. Final multiple linear regression analysis further examined whether acting with awareness, nonjudging of inner experience, and nonreactivity to inner experience remained related to students’ perceived psychological stress when all three simultaneously regressed on total perceived psychological stress scores. The final results of this study indicated that nonjudging of inner experience (p=.003) was the strongest predictor of students’ perceived psychological stress in this study.
This study expands the limited knowledge on the facets of trait mindfulness and how they relate to perceived psychological stress in DPT students. It is the first to consider the influence of individual trait mindfulness facets as an antecedent to stress management in DPT students. Previous research has shown that higher levels of trait mindfulness can be developed with mindfulness training [4], [5], [6], and has been associated with lower levels of perceived psychological stress in young adults [7], [8], college students [9], nursing students [10], and DPT students [11]. The findings from this study contribute to the existing empirical evidence that indicated that higher levels of overall trait mindfulness are associated with lower levels of perceived psychological stress. Further, the study’s findings provide new evidence on which individual facets of trait mindfulness predict lower perceived psychological stress, specifically in DPT students. This information can guide educators in incorporating specific mindfulness practices into the DPT curriculum that prioritize and develop the identified trait mindfulness facets.

Authors: Jessica Rodriguez, Lori Kupczynski

Published in: World Congress on Education (WCE-2023)

  • Date of Conference: 26-28 June, 2023
  • DOI: 10.2053/WCE.2023.0013
  • ISBN: 978-1-913572-59-4
  • Conference Location: Residence and Conference Centre, Toronto, Canada