Anxiety, depression, and stress are three of the most common experiences that impact college student functioning and academic achievement. At least one in six college students struggle with anxiety, increasing risk for developing depressive symptoms or disorders that further impact wellness. However, as mental health concerns increase across campuses, universities are not equipped to meet the demand of mental health support for college students. Neurofeedback (NF) training presents as an innovative intervention to treat anxiety, depression, and stress as it is designed to regulate brain processes in an effort to increase more effective brain functioning. A quasi-experimental, nonequivalent control group design was utilized to determine differences between treatment group and waitlist control group participants' anxiety, stress, and depression scores at four time points as measured by the: (a) Beck Anxiety Inventory [BAI] (Beck, Epstein, Brown, & Steer, 1988); (b) Beck Depression Inventory, Second Edition [BDI-II] (Beck, Steer, & Brown, 1996); (c) Perceived Stress Scale [PSS] (Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983); and (d) Social Anxiety Thought questionnaire [SAT] (Hartman, 1984). Furthermore, cortisol testing was used through assessment of saliva samples using Salimetrics Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). Key findings for the current investigation include: (a) a marginally significant (p = .051) difference between treatment group and control group participants' PSS (partial η2 = .093), BDI-II (partial η2 = .089), and SAT (partial η2 = .052) scores over time; (b) no significance difference among participant demographics between treatment group and control group assessment scores over time; (c) no significance between treatment group and control group assessment scores and salivary cortisol levels over time; and (d) a negative relationship between the control group participants' salivary cortisol levels at pre-test on the BAI, PSS, and SAT. Finally, results are compared to previous studies. Limitations and implications as well as areas for future research are explored.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Education and Human Performance
Education; Counselor Education Track
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Bennett, Caitlyn, "The Impact of a Neurofeedback Training Intervention on College Students' Levels of Anxiety, Stress, Depression, and Cortisol" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5804.