Library Dissertation Showcase

The effects of a brief mindfulness intervention on anxiety, emotion regulation and behaviour in a low-income primary school

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2022

Anxiety in primary school children is at unprecedented levels with implications for long-term mental health. School-based mindfulness interventions may alleviate anxiety, especially among disadvantaged children more vulnerable to stressors. Many mindfulness-based interventions (MB ls) place heavy demands on schools in terms of time, cost and training; however, research into brief interventions, particularly in areas of high social deprivation, is lacking. This study is a randomised control trial examining the effects of a brief MBI on anxiety, emotion regulation and behaviour in a low-income primary school. Two classes of pupils aged 8-9 (N=49) were randomly assigned to either the intervention group, involving a short daily mindful-meditation for six days, or a classroom-as­-usual control group. Changes were measured using child self-reports, teacher-reports and a cognitive task and compared between groups before and after intervention. Further analysis explored effects on children eligible for free school meals (FSM) and children with special educational needs (SEN). Mindfulness led to significantly lower state anxiety compared to the control, with disadvantaged children benefitting most, and a significant improvement in behaviour, particularly in children with SEN. Emotion regulation measures showed mixed results and these are discussed. Findings suggest that a brief mindfulness practice can be feasibly integrated into the busy school day and may be an effective universal anxiety prevention tool, with further potential as a self­ administered behaviour management strategy.

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