Journal of Undergraduate Research


dialectical behavior, therapy skills, college students


David O. McKay School of Education




Brigham Young University (BYU) has over 30,000 students, and many of them face difficult personal and psychological challenges. These may include adjusting to school life after returning from a mission, coping with academic demands, finding balance between work and school, or dealing with difficult roommates and families. Although BYU and other universities provide counseling services to assist students, these services are stretched thin and many cannot meet the needs and demands of students (http://www.standard.net/State/2016/09/08/USU-studentgovernment- declares-mental-health-crisis). This project explores whether or not a peer-led intervention teaching skills from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) could effectively meet some students’ needs. DBT training is designed to enhance four major skills that may help students struggling to adjust to college life: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation. While DBT and DBT-based groups are efficacious for a variety of clinical and sub-clinical problems in college students (Chugani & Landes, 2016) and there is literature demonstrating the efficacy of peer-mentored interventions (Viverito et al., 2013), there is currently very little literature about the efficacy of DBT-based groups led by peers. If DBT-based groups can be shown as helpful when peer-led, it may lead to new, more accessible and less expensive opportunities for counseling centers to effectively meet adjustment challenges and students’ needs. The goal of this project was to determine the efficacy of a peer-mentored DBT skills-based group for adjusting college students.

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