Using Mindfulness to Challenge State Anxiety Levels in Students, and the Influencing Moderating Effects of Personality

Alejandro Serrano



Year of study:

University exposes students to many stressors, where anxiety can affect academic performance. State anxiety(SA), a real-time fluid change in emotion prompted by perceived physiological arousal, has been associated with lower overall test performance in student populations. SA has been suggested to correlate with personality traits, with specific coping styles which target anxiety sharing a strong relationship with situation specific coping responses. Mindfulness may decrease SA and improve academic attainment in student populations. However, little research has investigated the effectiveness of short-term mindfulness meditations in reducing SA in students. This study investigates the effects of a three-minute mindfulness intervention on SA levels in students and the associated moderating effects of personality traits. Anxiety scores from83 university students were analysed using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and personality scores using the Big Five Inventory. Statistical analysis suggested a significant main effect of a short-term mindfulness intervention on changes in SA. No significant effect of neuroticism, nor conscientiousness was found on SA levels. Additional research should investigate use of short-term mindfulness interventions on changes in student SA before test-taking in academic settings. Suggestions are offered for potential avenues using short-term mindfulness meditations in reducing the effects of stressors experienced by students.