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Title: University student anxiety and stress – exploring the feasibility, suitability, and benefits of ACT matrix group workshops for university students experiencing anxiety and stress
Authors: Nelson, Cathy
Keywords: university students;post-secondary students;anxiety;stress;ACT Matrix;perspective;point-of-view;Acceptance and Commitment Therapy;ACT;workshop
Issue Date: 3-Jan-2020
Abstract: The Ontario University and College Health Association (OUCHA), called upon the provincial government for immediate action in regard to the state of post-secondary students’ mental health and lack of adequate supports (OUCHA, 2016), referencing the dire findings of recent and consecutive studies done by the American College Health Association National College Health Assessment II (ACHA-NCHA II). The studies indicated the top factors Ontario students reported as having negative impacts on their academic performance were stress and anxiety (ACHA-NCHA II, 2013, 2016), and the trend is rising. Anxiety and stress have been linked to a multitude of risks including suicide. My qualitative research study explored the benefits of a 1-day ‘Learning What Works’ ACT Matrix Workshop created to introduce a pointof-view to Laurentian students who struggle with problematic symptoms of anxiety and stress. The workshop was based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and centred around the ACT Matrix, a simple tool designed to foster the noticing of, and if desired, bringing about change to behaviour. The results of this study were gleaned from data collected from pre- and post-workshop surveys and participant discussion groups. Thematic analysis of the data returned favourable results. Post-workshop survey respondents indicated they continued to benefit from their workshop experience four weeks later, and shared ways in which they continue to refer to the ACT Matrix in their lives. Some said the workshop changed their lives. Offering ACT Matrix workshops in university settings could make a positive difference in more students’ mental health.
Appears in Collections:Social Work - Master's Major Papers

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