Document Type (Journals)

Educational Innovations


Given the high levels of stress in college students and its impact on academic achievement, a purposefully designed curriculum-based mindfulness stress reduction program was implemented for entry-level occupational therapy students to support student mental health. The small-scale, seven-week study, used a combination of mindfulness-based stress reduction strategies, including a meditative technique known as inquiry-based stress reduction (IBSR), and coping strategies using the Occupational Performance Coaching Model to help students cope with their stress levels. Sixteen student participants explored a variety of stress reduction strategies to best suit their individualized needs. Strategies included phone applications, podcasts, guided meditation, yoga, mindfulness of breath, and inquiry-based stress reduction techniques. Emotional intelligence-based occupational therapy principles were reinforced, including the therapeutic use of self, client-centered care, and occupation. A mixed-methods research design was used to measure changes in student stress levels from pre to post-intervention using the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and a post-intervention instructor-developed survey. Results from the overall score of the PSS were statistically significant (t=3.29; p< 0.05) indicating a significant reduction in participants’ perceived stress levels. On the instructor-developed survey, 100% of the students (N=16) who participated in this mindfulness training felt it was helpful: 81% (n=13) of the participants rated it very helpful and 19% (n=3) rated it as somewhat helpful in reducing their stress levels. These results suggest that mindfulness-based interventions may be effective in reducing perceived stress in occupational therapy students. Educators might consider integrating student stress coping strategies early in their occupational therapy programs.


Jen Willoughby Vogtmann, OTD, OTR/L, is an Associate Professor in the school of occupational therapy at Baker College with 18 years of clinical practice. She has extensive training with Mindful Schools and general training with SIYL Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence Leadership program and ISBR with “The Work” of Bryon Katie.

Ingrid Provident, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA is Associate Professor and Program Coordinator at Chatham University with over 30 years in the field of occupational therapy and she is currently teaching and directing the post professional online OTD Program.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.