Mindfulness moderates the relation between trauma and anxiety symptoms in college students

Justin D. Tubbs*, Jeanne E. Savage, Amy E. Adkins, Ananda B. Amstadter, Danielle M. Dick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: To explore the relations between trauma exposure and anxiety and depression among college students, and to determine whether trait mindfulness may moderate these relations. Participants: Self-report survey data from 2,336 college sophomores were drawn from a larger university-wide study (“Spit for Science”). Methods: We constructed multiple linear regression models using past-year trauma exposure, trait mindfulness, and their multiplicative interaction to predict current anxiety and depressive symptom severity, while controlling for covariates. Results: Mindfulness was associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety symptom severity. Trauma was a significant predictor of anxiety, but not depression, and high levels of mindfulness attenuated the association between trauma exposure and higher anxiety symptom severity. Conclusions: These results have implications for the treatment and prevention of anxiety among trauma-exposed college students and provide a basis for further research into the mechanisms through which mindfulness may facilitate positive mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-245
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


Spit for Science: The VCU Student Survey has been supported by Virginia Commonwealth University, P20AA017828, R37AA011408, K02AA018755, and P50AA022537 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and UL1RR031990 from the National Center for Research Resources and National Institutes of Health Roadmap for Medical Research.

FundersFunder number
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and AlcoholismK02AA018755, P50AA022537, R37AA011408, P20AA017828, UL1RR031990
Virginia Commonwealth University


    • Anxiety
    • depression
    • internalizing
    • mindfulness
    • trauma


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