Rising rates of symptoms of mental illness, such as depression, on university campuses point to the need for targeted intervention efforts. In particular, students with depression experience low levels of positive emotions, which may interfere with daily goals and exacerbate other symptoms of mental illness. The current study aimed to evaluate the impact of a virtual, two-session Behavioral Activation augmented with Savoring (BA+S) intervention when compared to an Emotional Awareness (EA) control group in increasing daily positive affect. Sixty university students with low positive affect were randomized to each group and completed daily experience-sampling regarding their current positive and negative emotions and met with a study therapist two times across 21 days. Those in the intervention group were taught strategies to engage in pleasant activities and savor them whereas those in the control group were able to reflect on their mood without redirection from a therapist. Assessments of clinical symptoms were ascertained at baseline, sessions one and two, and at study end (one week after the second session). Results demonstrate no significant differences between groups across time in daily positive emotions measured via experience-sampling; however, those in the BA+S group had significant increases in positive emotions measured on a weekly basis (each assessment timepoint) and had higher levels at the end of the study than those in the EA group. Changes in other clinical variables were not significantly different across time between the groups. Findings of the study have the potential to inform intervention strategies for students on university campuses experiencing low levels of positive emotions.

Degree Date

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name





Alicia Meuret

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Available for download on Tuesday, May 02, 2028