Recently, the literature on the positive impact of social integration on health and well-being, as well as academic success, has been growing. Students entering their first semester of college are at a crucial time for cementing social relationships among their peers. As such, early-college interventions that help students to feel more integrated and connected to their campus can improve their inner well-being and their college success. The practice of mindfulness mediation could provide an avenue for helping first-year college students socially adjust and create lasting relationships with their college peers, as this training has been associated with reduced social anxiety. This project integrates a semester-long mindfulness meditation training in the first semester of in-coming college students at UMass Dartmouth. We predict that students completing this training, compared to students who do not, will have earlier gains in both on-campus peer-relationships. Further, we predict that these social gains will correspond with decreases in stress and anxiety and increases in both individual well-being and academic success. Self-report measures of social networks, well-being, and academic performance will be collected before and after the mindfulness training and following the next three semesters of college. Results have applications for reducing education disparities among at-risk populations.

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