Background: Many mental health disorders, including anxiety, are identified during young adulthood when students are beginning college. Therapies such as weighted blankets may provide anxiety relief, but information about the use of weighted blankets for students is lacking.
Purpose: To compare the effect of weighted versus regular blankets on anxiety, sleep, and GPA in a sample of undergraduate students.
Conceptual framework: Measurements were operationalized through the Overall Anxiety Severity and Impairment Scale (OASIS).
Methods: A pilot study using a convenience sample with random assignment was conducted. Participants (N = 32) self-identified as belonging to one of three groups: not experiencing anxiety, having anxiety and not taking medication, and having anxiety and taking medication. Participants were randomly assigned to use a weighted or standard blanket throughout the fall 2018 semester and asked to complete three online surveys including items about sleep and the OASIS. SPSS Version 25 was used to analyze descriptive and parametric statistics. A 2 (Blanket type: weighted, regular) x 3 (Anxiety type: no anxiety, anxiety without medication, anxiety with medication) mixed-model ANOVA was completed to analyze the effects of blanket type on sleep, anxiety, and GPA.
Findings: There was a statistically significant relationship between blanket type and quality of sleep. There was also a potentially, clinically significant relationship between blanket type and level of anxiety.
Conclusions: Weighted blankets may be helpful in improving sleep quality and decreasing anxiety among college students. The findings provide insight into how complementary and alternative therapies could be aligned with care provided for students by university health and counseling services, and evidence-based practice in mental health nursing.
Clapp, Amy, "Effects of Weighted Blankets on College Students’ Anxiety" (2019). Honors Projects. 51.