New research in mindfulness
Maya McGregor, Research Assistant, BCCH Centre for Mindfulness | October 16, 2023
Mindfulness improves middle school students’ scores on math tests
In this study, researchers aimed to determine if mindfulness could enhance students’ performance on important math tests. An 8th-grade middle school class took weekly math tests for four weeks, each test rated equivalent in difficulty. The first and third tests were taken as usual. The second and fourth tests incorporated an audio-guided mindfulness session, administered prior to the tests.
The mindfulness session involved a variety of mindfulness practices, including:
- Bringing attention to the present moment
- Awareness of breath and sensations in the body
- Noticing negative thoughts and emotions and not judging
The study’s results revealed that students performed better on tests administered after the mindfulness session. Additionally, students were asked to share thoughts about the reasons for improved performance following meditation. Students reported that meditating helped them to worry less about the outcomes of their performance, reduced their obsession over time constraints or difficult problems, and enhanced their ability to stay focused on the present moment.
Zuo, H., & Wang, L. (2023). The influences of mindfulness on high-stakes mathematics test achievement of middle school students. Frontiers in Psychology, 14.
Mindfulness-based relapse prevention more effective than standard relapse prevention for reducing heavy drinking days
This study compared two approaches for reducing heavy drinking: Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) and traditional Relapse Prevention. Researchers aimed to determine which method was more effective in reducing the number of drinking days as well as the average number of drinks consumed.
"Relapse Prevention" is a traditional approach that focuses on identifying high-risk situations and developing coping strategies to avoid relapse. Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) is a relatively new intervention that incorporates standard Relapse Prevention but additionally incorporates mindfulness techniques. These mindfulness techniques help people recognize and observe cravings without engaging with them.
The researchers conducted a randomized control trial, meaning they randomly assigned participants to either the MBRP group or the Relapse Prevention group. Both groups showed a significant decline in their average number of drinks per drinking day as well as their total number of heavy drinking days. However, when the researchers followed up with participants several weeks after the program concluded, the MBRP group had maintained this reduction in heavy drinking, while the standard Relapse Prevention group did not. Overall, this study suggests that MBRP may lead to more sustained results in reducing heavy drinking compared to standard Relapse Prevention.
Skrzynski, C. J., Karoly, H., Ellingson, J. M., Hagerty, S. L., Bryan, A. D., & Hutchison, K. E. (2023). Comparing the efficacy of mindfulness-based relapse prevention versus relapse prevention for alcohol use disorder: A randomized control trial. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 84(4), 560-569.