Benefits of a mindfulness-based intervention upon school entry: A pilot study

Adam Koncz, Ferenc Köteles, Zsolt Demetrovics, Zsofia K. Takacs*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: mindfulness meditation is effective at fostering the executive functioning of children, i.e., the skills that play important roles in academic performance and social–emotional wellbeing. One possible mechanism for such an effect might be that meditation practices can decrease stress, especially if someone is at a risk for elevated cortisol levels, for instance, due to a stressful life event, such as starting school. Participants and methods: the present pilot study tested the effects of a six-session mindfulness intervention applied right after school entry compared to a passive control group. In total 61 first graders participated (Mage = 84.95 months, SD = 5.21) in this study from four classes of a primary school in Budapest. Repeated-measures ANOVA were performed to explore the effects on executive functioning skills and cortisol levels. Results: no effect was found on morning salivary cortisol levels, but the working memory capacities of girls significantly improved as a result of the intervention. Conclusions: a relatively short, story-based mindfulness intervention can improve the working memory capacities of first-graders; thus, it could potentially contribute to the academic performance and adaptation of children in schools.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12630
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • mindfulness
  • intervention
  • school entry
  • children
  • stress
  • cortisol
  • executive functions

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