Last updated on July 2019

Student Anxiety & Stress Study


Brief description of study

The present study is a randomized clinical trial of an emotional awareness and expression intervention (EAET) and a mindfulness meditation intervention (MMT) for college students with anxiety and somatic symptoms. Each of these treatments will be compared to a wait list control condition and to one another to evaluate how well the treatments improve physical and psychological symptoms, stress, and interpersonal functioning of 120 Wayne State University students at 4-week and 8-weeks post-randomization. This research is intended to provide an evidence-based approach to working with emotions to improve both anxiety and somatic symptoms in young adults and will illuminate how EAET compares to the commonly used mindfulness training. It is hypothesized that both active interventions will be superior to no treatment, and differences between the two treatments will be explored.

Detailed Study Description

Anxiety is an increasingly common condition among college students and is often accompanied by somatic symptoms. These conditions impair students' social, psychological, and academic functioning and outcomes. Although students are utilizing campus and community mental health centers at increasing rates, these resources are strained. The present study aims to test the efficacy of two brief treatment options for students.

Integrating techniques from several emotion-focused therapies, the investigators have developed and tested an intervention encouraging the awareness and expression of habitually suppressed or avoided emotions. This Emotional Awareness and Expression Therapy (EAET) has been evaluated with various patient populations including fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pelvic pain, and medically unexplained symptoms. Results of these trials suggest that the intervention is efficacious in improving physical and psychological well-being, and is equal to or superior to other psychological interventions for somatic conditions. The present study seeks to advance the EAET literature by evaluating the efficacy of the intervention for a broader population and by employing a strong and conceptually different comparison condition: mindfulness meditation training.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03986125

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Wayne State University

Detroit, MI United States
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Recruitment Status: Open


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