This Campbell systematic review examines the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) implemented in school settings on cognition, behaviour, socio-emotional outcomes and academic achievement. MBIs are interventions that use a mindfulness component, broadly defined as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally”, and is often combined with yoga, cognitive-behavioural strategies, or relaxation-skills training.
A total of 61 studies are included in the review, but only the 35 randomised or quasi-experimental studies are used in the meta-analysis, with a total of 6,207 pupil participants. Most of the studies were carried out in schools in the US (74%), with some in Asia (5%), Europe (16%) and Canada (5%). The interventions ranged in duration (4–28 weeks), number of sessions (6–125 sessions) and frequency of meetings (once every two weeks to five times a week).
The findings show that:
- MBIs in schools have a small positive effect on cognitive outcomes and socio-emotional outcomes, but do not improve behaviour or academic achievement.
- There was little heterogeneity for all outcomes, apart from behavioural outcomes, suggesting that the interventions produced similar results across studies on cognitive, socio-emotional and academic outcomes, despite the interventions being quite diverse.
Overall, Brandy Maynard and colleagues find a lack of support at post-test to indicate that the positive effects on cognitive and socio-emotional outcomes then translate into positive outcomes on behaviour and academic achievement.
Source (Open Access): Maynard, B.R., Solis, M.R., Miller, V.L.& Brendel, K.E. (2017). Mindfulness-based interventions for improving cognition, academic achievement, behavior, and socioemotional functioning of primary and secondary school students. Oslo, Norway: The Campbell Collaboration.