The objective was to examine whether mindfulness interventions and trait mindfulness are associated with academic performance in students (first grade–college).
Two three-level meta-analyses were conducted: (a) a meta-analysis comparing the effects of mindfulness interventions with those of control treatments (74 effect sizes from 29 studies); and (b) a meta-analysis comparing correlations between trait mindfulness and academic performance (84 effect sizes from 24 studies).
Average effect sizes were significant (Hedges’ g = 0.31 for intervention studies, r between trait mindfulness and academic performance = 0.09). In-person classes yielded larger effect sizes, and so did interventions set up as separate classes rather than in-class sessions. Longer interventions yielded larger effects, but this effect only pertained to informal, at-home work; interventions with longer sessions resulted in stronger effects. The correlation between mindfulness and academic performance was largest for elementary-school children and not significant for college students.
Mindfulness interventions have a reliable effect on student’s academic performance, and higher levels of trait mindfulness are associated with higher academic performance. Little is, however, known about the mechanisms for these effects.
This study is not pre-registered.