This project will explore mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) as a potential tool for increasing rural, first-generation college student retention. Rural, first-generation college students face increased risks for dropping out of college compared to their counterparts. This is a significant gap because when rural, first-generation students struggle to graduate, it perpetuates generational systems of class divide as well as geographic stratification. This study aims to explore the effectiveness of MBIs as a support for rural, first-generation student success. Through MBIs, students are likely to experience decreased emotional distress while simultaneously experiencing a deep sense of connection that can emerge from self-transcendent experiences—linking themselves, others, and the campus community. If MBIs are an effective tool for rural, first-generation students, it could potentially increase their chances of graduating from college, subsequently situating them for a lifetime of increased socioemotional benefits. This study will use a randomized control trial comparing mindfulness meditation (active treatment) with psychoeducation (control).

Natalie Lecy

University of South Dakota


Adam Hanley, PhD

Florida State University

Grantee, Reviewer