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26-07-2015 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 1/2016

Mindfulness 1/2016

The Impact of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course (MBSR) on Well-Being and Academic Attainment of Sixth-form Students

Mindfulness > Uitgave 1/2016
K. Bennett, D. Dorjee


There is a growing interest in developing mindfulness skills in the context of education as a means to improve psychological well-being together with work-related skills and performance of children and adolescents. Here, we report findings from a feasibility pilot study exploring the acceptability and impact of a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) course with mixed-gender self-selected sixth-form students (N = 23; age 16–18) studying for General Certificate of Education (GCE) examinations. The study followed a non-randomized controlled design with a 3-month follow-up. Participants (11 in the training group, 13 controls) reported on the acceptability of the course after its completion. In addition, they completed self-report measures assessing depression, anxiety, stress (DASS 21) and well-being  (WHO-5) before the start of the MBSR training (Time 1), after its completion (Time 2) and at follow-up (Time 3). The impact of participation on academic attainment and medical absences was also evaluated. The MBSR course attendance rates were very high (94 %), attrition rate was very low (one participant) and 90 % of the course attendees said they would recommend the course to others. We have also found medium-size effect differences between the training and control groups on depression scores at T2 (d = 0.57, p = 0.09, one-tailed) and T3 (d = 0.57, p = 0.08, one-tailed), with the training group scoring lower. In addition, there was a medium-size effect on anxiety reduction from T2 to T3 (d = 0.74, p = 0.07, two-tailed) in the training group only. The results also revealed a medium-size effect difference in academic attainment between the two groups at T3 (d = 0.65, p = 0.08, one-tailed), with students in the training group achieving better grades—a difference which equates to nearly one GCE grade per subject. Our findings suggest that the MBSR programme may be an acceptable and effective intervention for self-selected groups of sixth-form students, and participation in the MBSR course may benefit sixth-form students by improving their psychological health and supporting them in achieving their academic potential. Further larger scale studies are needed to provide conclusive evidence.

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