Recruiting Engineering Students for a Mindfulness Study

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You are invited to participate in a research study to better understand stress and empathy among engineering students. You must be 18 years old and an engineering student. Your participation in the study will be compensated monetarily; each participant will receive a year-long subscription to a meditation app (Headspace), as well as a $25 Amazon gift card at the conclusion of the study.

The purpose of our proposed research is to understand how a mindfulness practice intervention might influence engineering students’ mental health and empathic capacity. We are also interested in examining whether a mindfulness training impacts participants physiological stress response. The study will continue for 10 weeks and if you agree to take part in this study, you will be going through the following study phases.

1)     Before intervention: After signing up, you will be asked to complete an online survey. Next, you will be assigned a time to visit our lab for study orientation. During the study orientation, we will obtain official informed consent, assign you a participant code, demonstrate how to use Headspace, run a practice mindfulness session using Headspace, and ask you to provide a baseline saliva sample. Then, you will be informed about the details of the intervention. Specifically, you will be asked to engage in meditation (facilitated by Headspace) for 15 minutes every day for the next 8 weeks and complete weekly reflections.

2)     During Intervention: At the end of four weeks, you will be asked to visit the lab again. During this visit, the researchers will check in with you and collect saliva samples. You will fill out another brief survey. You will be reminded to continue with your 15 minutes meditation for the next four weeks and to complete the weekly reflections.

3)     After Intervention: At the end of eight weeks, you will be asked to visit the lab for a final saliva collection. You will be reminded to complete the post-intervention survey. At the end of the visit, you will be debriefed about the study and receive a $25 amazon gift card for your participation, as soon as you submit the post-intervention survey.

Participation Requirements:

Individuals age 18 and older will be invited to participate in this study if the following criteria are met:

  1. Be comfortable providing saliva samples
  2. Not currently experiencing an acute or chronic illness
  3. Be in good health (self-reported)
  4. Not have an endocrine disorder (diabetes, Addison’s disease, Cushing’s syndrome, or thyroid disorders)
  5. Not currently or have previously undergone chemotherapy
  6. Not on any anti-anxiety, antipsychotic, antidepressant, or mood stabilizing medications
  7. Not taking anti-inflammatory steroid based medications or on any hormone replacement therapies (not including hormonal birth control; it is fine if you are taking hormonal birth control)

There will be no specific requirements in terms of sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, income, or level of education. The survey will only be available in English, and therefore participants must speak English to participate in the study. Moreover, survey responses will be anonymous and will not be linked with your name. Instead, you will be assigned a code to maintain privacy.

You will be asked about the seven criteria noted above in the sign-up sheet. Please email us if you have more questions about the study. Our contact information is below:

Dr. Lauren Cooper, Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering Lcoope06@calpoly.edu

Dr. Anuraj Dhillon, Assistant Professor in Communications Studies
adhill06@calpoly.edu

Dr. Andrew Danowitz, Assistant Professor in Electrical Engineering
adanowit@calpoly.edu

We sincerely hope that you will consider participating in this study. If you are interested in joining, please sign up here.

The Cal Poly College of Engineering understands there has been an enormous amount of turmoil and transition due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). As we continue offering support to our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, we also continue providing critical updates as well as college highlights. Ours is a college full of creative and bright engineers and staff. For more information on COVID-19 visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For more information on how Cal Poly is responding to COVID-19, visit the Cal Poly Coronavirus website Coronavirus website.

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