• Scripture Meditation (lectio Divina) And The Regulation Of Negative Reactions To Stress In Anderson University Students Anderson, South Carolina

      Jennings, Amy S.
      ABSTRACT AMY STURDIVANT JENNINGS SCRIPTURE MEDITATION (LECTIO DIVINA) AND THE REGULATION OF NEGATIVE REACTIONS TO STRESS IN ANDERSON UNIVERSITY STUDENTS ANDERSON, SOUTH CAROLINA Under the direction of Karen G. Massey, Ph.D., Supervisor On university campuses there has been an increase in students needing accommodations for stress related issues. Anderson University is no exception, and over the past three years the university has seen a 7% increase in academic accommodations for psychological issues related to stress. The two main purposes of this research study were to assist female students in deepening their relationship with God and to help them in managing their negative emotional reactions to stress. The researcher sought to accomplish these goals through a series of four teaching sessions by introducing participants to the spiritual practice of Scripture meditation (Lectio divina). The research methodology was an experimental design and obtained both quantitative and qualitative data. The study was conducted on forty-seven recruited students from introductory behavioral science courses at Anderson University. All students voluntarily participated, signed consent forms, and received behavioral science research credit upon completion of the study. Students were randomly assigned to two groups: control group (n=23) and experimental group (n=24). During the first session participants completed several assessments that measured their stress, emotional regulation, and spirituality. While the control group received emails with suggestions for handling stress, the experimental group met weekly for four weeks to learn Scripture meditation. They were given journals with instructions on how to practice Scripture meditation privately, and they also prayed in small groups weekly. The same assessments given before the intervention were given at the conclusion of the intervention. The quantitative aspect involved completing ANOVAs to determine the statistical significance of the intervention. The qualitative component gathered data from student journals and private interviews. The results of the study revealed that, in comparison to the control group, the experimental group had significant differences on their scores between the pre- and post-assessments. The interviews also confirmed these findings. The results suggest that Scripture meditation assisted students in deepening their intimacy with God and provided them with an effective way of managing their negative emotional reactions to stress. Application of this study could be made to various populations who use their faith as a means of developing both mental and spiritual well-being.