During the 2020-2021 academic year, Dr. Miriam Liss (Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Department of Psychological Science), along with her team of students Emily Beitzell, Megan Hook. Purnaja Podduturi, Haley McKeen, and Amelia Jones, partnered with Ms. Ann Bernardi, school social worker to implement a mindfulness intervention to first graders at Riverview Elementary school in Spotsylvania County . Each student was paired with a 1st grade teacher and worked with the teacher to come in one time a week (sometimes on zoom, sometimes in person) and implement a short mindfulness intervention from the Mindful Schools curriculum. Ms. Bernardi trained the students in doing the intervention. They collected pre-test and posttest data to determine the effectiveness of the intervention. The results of their work with Riverview Elementary were presented at the UMW Department of Psychological Sciences spring symposium in 2021. The team also presented their work at the Association for Psychological Science conference which was online in May 2021. This project was approved both by the UMW Institutional Review Board and the Spotsylvania County school board.
In order to prepare for their project at Riverview Elementary, Dr. Liss and her students collected data that looked at mindfulness in a variety of contexts in UMW undergraduates as well as a sample that collected on social media. This research resulted in three published papers, each with a different student as first author.
The first paper, Mindfulness as a mediator and moderator in the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and depression, looked at mindfulness as a mediator and moderator in the relationship between Averse Childhood experiences and depression. It was published in the journal Current Psychology. Student Haley McKeen was first author on that paper.
The second paper, titled Mindfulness as a mediator in the relationship between social media engagement and depression in young adults, looked at mindfulness as a mediator in the relationship between social media use and depression and it was published in Personality and Individual Differences. Student Amelia Jones was first author.
The final paper, COVID on the Brain: Anxiety Sensitivity and Mindful Awareness Mediate the Relationship between COVID-19 Obsession and Anxiety, looked at mindfulness as a mediator in the relationship between COVID anxiety and generalized anxiety and was published in OBN Integrative and Complementary Medicine. Student Emily Beitzell was first author.
Since completing their projects last May and graduating UMW with their degrees in psychology, two of the students (Emily Beitzell and Haley McKeen) have begun their graduate work in psychology, and Megan Hook is working on her master’s degree in education here at UMW.