Skip to main content

The design and evaluation of an online media-based stress reduction intervention for college students

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 — Poster Session II

Noon – 2:00 p.m

Natcher Conference Center, Building 45




  • Abby Prestin
  • Robin Nabi


Background. Stress can have deleterious effects on health and well-being; thus, palatable interventions that interrupt the pathway from stress to downstream consequences are needed. This study tests an online media-based program to cultivate positive emotions to dampen stress and enhance psychological and physical health. Method. In a four-wave panel experiment, undergraduates (N = 248) were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups, who viewed one five-minute YouTube clip a day for five consecutive days, or a no media control group. Treatment groups either viewed comedy clips to evoke amusement, clips portraying underdogs achieving goals to elicit hope, or nature clips to maintain calmness. Stress, emotion, illness symptoms, and life satisfaction were measured at baseline and two post-tests. Results. Each treatment evoked its target positive emotional response. Compared to the control group, all media conditions reduced psychological stress, negative emotion, and illness symptoms, and increased life satisfaction. Low attrition indicated this program was acceptable. Implications. Results demonstrate that media-based interventions are a viable means of enhancing wellness and preventing the damages of stress. The new media landscape offers exciting opportunities to offer programs that bypass barriers to service and limit attrition.

back to top