Spring 2017

Stress buster

Illustraton by Keith Negley

Most college students have experienced a potentially traumatic event, whether it’s the death of a loved one or sexual assault. And while many find ways to cope, others experience anxiety, stress, and depression that can affect their success.

Patricia Frazier, Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Psychology, heads a lab that develops online tools to help students contend with the stress that goes along with life-changing experiences and evaluates whether those interventions help. 

Her Stress and Trauma Lab provides students with online exercises that teach them what they can and cannot control, mindfulness skills, and other ways to build resilience. 

“We found in several studies that students who do our intervention report less stress and fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety than those who don’t do the intervention,” says Frazier, who won the inaugural Charlotte Striebel Equity Award for her gender equity pay study in the College of Liberal Arts. 

The lab’s most recent study involves administering the interventions to students over their smartphones.

Frazier says she plans to continue gathering evidence that such exercises help students cope with stress.