Exploring mindfulness in the classroom: universal or targeted approach?

Shane Costello, Victoria Etherington

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Despite the increasing utilisation of mindfulness based interventions with children, research investigating the impact of these interventions in school settings is limited. In particular, less is known about the effectiveness of mindfulness based interventions when used as a first-tier (universal) approach compared to second-tier (targeted). The study used a mixed methods sequential explanatory design to investigate the anxiety outcomes and the students’ experiences of each delivery method. 66 participants (50.9% male) in grades three to six took part in an 8-session mindfulness based intervention. 46 participants were part of the universal approach (whole classes), while the remaining participants (n=20) were part of the targeted group, selected because they were deemed “at-risk” of social and emotional maladjustment. Quantitative analysis found that mean anxiety significantly reduced in the targeted group (p=.004) while the universal group did not (p=.126); however participants in the universal condition who reported high anxiety pre-intervention did experience a significant decrease in anxiety (p=.007). Qualitative analysis of subsequent interviews with six participants indicated positive experiences from both methods of delivery, and that even well-adjusted participants gained benefits and skills. These results support the use of a universal delivery for mindfulness based interventions in schools. This presentation will be relevant for psychologists in schools.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventNew Zealand Psychological Society Annual Conference 2016 - Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
Duration: 1 Sep 20164 Sep 2016


ConferenceNew Zealand Psychological Society Annual Conference 2016
CountryNew Zealand


  • Mindfulness
  • Social and emotional well being
  • Children

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