Best Evidence in Brief: a systematic review on mindfulness in school

There is a new Best Evidence in Brief and this time it includes a review study that will spur some attention and/or discussion. I’ve noticed that a lot of people will call mindfulness a fad, others will argue that there is proven effect. So…

This Campbell systematic review examines the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) implemented in school settings on cognition, behavior, socioemotional 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-behavioral strategies, or relaxation-skills training.
A total of 61 studies are included in the review, but only the 35 randomized or quasi-experimental studies are used in the meta-analysis, with a total of 6,207 student participants. Most of the studies were carried out in schools in the U.S. (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 had a small positive effect on cognitive outcomes and socioemotional outcomes, but did not improve behavior or academic achievement. There was little heterogeneity for all outcomes, apart from behavioral outcomes, suggesting that the interventions produced similar results across studies on cognitive, socioemotional, and academic outcomes, despite the interventions being quite diverse. Overall, Brandy Maynard and colleagues found a lack of support at post-test to indicate that the positive effects on cognitive and socioemotional outcomes then translate into positive outcomes on behavior and academic achievement.
Will this close the debate? For sure not, I’m afraid. Still, a good overview what to expect when you try mindfulness at school.

7 thoughts on “Best Evidence in Brief: a systematic review on mindfulness in school

  1. I was wondering the other day if mindfulness training would aid me (and therefore also students) not to reach for social media whenever work gets a little difficult or boring… So this study is a disappointing starter for that research question, i guess… :). any thoughts about this on your end?

  2. […] De voorbije weken waren er verschillende oproepen tot meer mindfulness in onze wereld en eventueel onze scholen. Jonathan Holslag, David Van Reybroeck,… deden hun duit in het mindfulness-zakje. Ik ben er zelf niet op tegen, ken verschillende beoefenaars, maar ben zelf vooral nieuwsgierig naar de wetenschappelijke kant van het verhaal (en voorlopig lijkt het tegen te vallen voor onderwijs). […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.