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A mixed methods pilot study evaluating the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention for exam-related anxiety in secondary school settings

Casson, SA; (2017) A mixed methods pilot study evaluating the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention for exam-related anxiety in secondary school settings. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Educational outcomes can be inordinately compromised by anxiety – particularly affecting for young people at a crucial juncture in their educational career. Evidence suggests that the impact of mindfulness interventions in schools lead to improvements in mental health problems (Meiklejohn et al., 2012) academic achievements (Zenner et al., 2014) depression and anxiety (Kuyken et al., 2013) and test anxiety (Napoli et al., 2005). This study employed a mixed methods pilot design to explore the impact of a new brief group mindfulness-based intervention for young people in Years 10 and 11 who present with anxiety, particularly in relation to exams. The intervention was delivered by Educational Psychologists (EPs) to six groups of young people (n=33) with 16 young people completing the full programme (5 males and 11 females) in five secondary schools within two London boroughs. Quantitative data took the form of pupils’ self-reported measures of general anxiety, test anxiety and mindfulness, collected pre-intervention (T1) postintervention (T2) and at follow-up (T3). Qualitative data was collected at T3 and involved eight semi-structured qualitative interviews with a sub-selection of young people (n=5; 1 from each group) and staff (n=3) to explore participants’ experience of the programme, and staff’s views about the feasibility and effectiveness of the intervention. Quantitative findings for the participants indicated that there was one significant reduction in mindfulness for participants between T1 and T2, with no significant changes across any other outcome measures. However, qualitative findings suggest that the intervention has had a positive impact on young people’s emotional well-being and ability to control feelings of test anxiety. This study has contributed to the evidence-base regarding the feasibility and effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions for young people, and has informed a wider understanding of issues relating to the implementation of such therapeutic interventions by EPs within their work in secondary schools.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: A mixed methods pilot study evaluating the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention for exam-related anxiety in secondary school settings
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1547691
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