Research Links Stress with Health Issues – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Research Links Stress with Health Issues

Assistant Professor of Psychology Jamie Bodenlos completed research which explored the effects of stress on health and behavior, and at the potential of mindfulness. The research was conducted with two alumnae Marleah Noonan ’12 and Stephanie Wells ’10, while Noonan and Wells were students.

Their research involved collecting data from more than 300 HWS students, who completed self-report measures including the Perceived Stress Scale, the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, and the Rutgers Alcohol Problems Index.

They also explored the potential of mindfulness, a term associated with Buddhist philosophy, referring to a state in which a person is purposefully conscious of his or her present state and moment-to-moment experiences – without any judgment made toward these experiences. Mindfulness is typically associated with lower levels of stress.

Bodenlos, Noonan and Wells found that mindfulness was in fact associated with lower levels of stress and concluded that Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction or other mindfulness programs may be useful in decreasing alcohol problems on college campuses via the effects on stress.

A paper they wrote about the research will be published in the Journal of American College Health in the issue available in August. In 2011, they presented the research at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Conference in Toronto.

Noonan earned a B.A. in psychology summa cum laude, with minors in child advocacy and cognition, logic and language. As a student, she participated in the phonathon, was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and was awarded the Dr. Stephen L. Cohen ’67 Prize in Psychology. Noonan also participated in the study abroad program in India. She is currently in a master’s program in counseling psychology at Boston College.

Wells graduated with a B.A. in psychology magna cum laude, with double minors in child advocacy and public policy. As a student she was involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Hugs Across America and was an Admissions student intern. She earned the Engaged Student Scholar Award and the President’s Civic Leadership Award. Since graduation, she has been working as a research technician at Women’s Health Sciences Division of the National Center for PTSD and is starting the Ph.D. program in clinical psychology at San Diego State University-California State University, University of California, San Diego this fall.

Bodenlos joined the HWS faculty in 2009 after serving as an instructor in medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She received a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University and did her post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where she began her research examining comorbidities between obesity and psychological disorders. Bodenlos has several papers published in this area of study.