Short mindfulness‐based relaxation training has no effects on executive functions but may reduce baseline cortisol levels of boys in first grade: A pilot study

Adam Koncz, Reka Kassai, Zsolt Demetrovics, Zsofia K. Takacs*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

(1) Background: Executive functions are important for academic performance and school readiness. Children’s executive function skills are found to be improved by mindfulness‐based interventions, and these programs are also effective in stress reduction. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and the effects of a short mindfulness‐based relaxation training compared to a passive control condition right before school entry on executive function skills and cortisol levels. (2) Methods: The feasibility and the effects of the intervention before school entry were tested with 61 preschoolers. The final sample consisted of 51 participants (Mage = 81.90 months, SD = 5.45; 41% male). Short‐term memory, executive function skills and cortisol levels before and after the intervention were assessed. Additionally, cortisol levels were assessed one week and one month after school entry. (3) Results: There was a significant sex difference in the effects of the intervention on children’s cortisol levels (p = 0.026, η2 = 0.134). The mindfulness‐based relaxation training applied before school entry prevented a rise in boys’ cortisol levels one week after starting school. (4) Conclusion: A short mindfulness‐based intervention before starting school could be effective in fostering physiological stress management in boys.

Original languageEnglish
Article number203
JournalChildren
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2022

Keywords

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

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