Cognitive Science, Executive Functions Adolescent psychological stress has become a significant concern in Chinese school settings where 77.5% of Chinese adolescents have reported they experience moderate to significant psychological stress with 40% of middle school students reporting high study-induced stress. This study explores the applicability of Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) in reducing psychological stress in Chinese […]23 Nov 2023
Reducing Psychological Stress of Chinese Adolescents by Mindfulness-Based Intervention
September 16, 2023
Cognitive Science, Executive Functions
Adolescent psychological stress has become a significant concern in Chinese school settings where 77.5% of Chinese adolescents have reported they experience moderate to significant psychological stress with 40% of middle school students reporting high study-induced stress.
This study explores the applicability of Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) in reducing psychological stress in Chinese schools and examines how resilience mediates between trait mindfulness and psychological stress. The research aims to shed light on the potential of MBIs to address this issue and contribute to enhancing the well-being of Chinese students.
Can Mindfulness-Based Interventions Help With Adolescent Stress?
The psychological stress of adolescents has become a problem that cannot be ignored on campus, but school authorities still have not provided effective psychological assistance and usually rely on school education with a unified implementation pattern.
Mindfulness cannot only enhance attention to inner self-awareness, but also improve the flexibility of response patterns of thinking, feeling, and behavior, thus avoiding the development of set thinking (Chapman et al., 2013).
Mindfulness Positively Associated With Psychological Resilience
A sample population of 189 students was randomly cluster-selected from four of twelve Grade 11 classes in a middle school in China. Two of the four classes were randomly assigned to the experimental group and the other two to the control group. The experimental group received 10 weeks of MBI alongside their regular school timetable and the control group followed their regular school timetable with no MBI interventions.
The results showed that:
- Compared with the pretest scores of the experimental group, and the pre- and post-test scores of the control group, the post-test scores of trait mindfulness and psychological resilience in the experimental group were significantly increased, while psychological stress was significantly decreased.
- Trait mindfulness was positively associated with psychological resilience. Trait mindfulness and psychological resilience were negatively associated with psychological stress.
- The mediating effect of psychological resilience accounted for 43.58% of the overall effect of trait mindfulness on psychological stress.
Mindfulness-Based Interventions Should Be Introduced in Schools
The findings provided encouraging evidence for MBI’s effectiveness in reducing adolescents’ psychological stress and the possible mediating role of psychological resilience. The authors of the report think it MBI is worthy of expanding to Chinese school settings.
“Mindfulness assists students in coping with the unsatisfying events and psychological stress, because they learned to react autonomously, not automatically. That is, instead of responding instantly, they practiced to feel the emotions of the moment, stay conscious for a moment, anchor their attention to the lower body with breath, and confront the present ideas and images with acceptance and openness, as well as shift their attention away from extreme emotions to the sensations of the body”
“Several meta-analyses have suggested that MBIs in schools had significant effects on mindfulness, executive functioning, attention, depression, negative behaviors, and resilience to stress (Carsley et al., 2018; Dunning et al., 2019; Felver et al., 2016; Zenner et al., 2014). However, the considerable heterogeneity of the studies, high diversity of samples, variety in implementation methods, and wide range of measures have made it difficult to compare studies.”
“Given the further development of [MBI] research in the United States and Europe, it is important to consider that cultural values are very different between countries.”
I found this interesting as this aligns very closely with what I teach and what Mindful Sparks does and I would love to be in a position one day to carry out research amongst a diverse range of students. This article touched on some interesting points, for me the two big ones were differences in culture and limited acknowledgment from leadership and I would love to see more research done in these areas in relation to how they impact student well-being.—Lilly
Liu, Xianhua, et al. “Reducing psychological stress of Chinese adolescents by mindfulness-based intervention: The mediating role of resilience.” Child & youth care forum. Vol. 52. No. 2. New York: Springer US, 2023.