Date of Award

5-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

College/School

College of Education and Human Services

Department/Program

Counseling and Educational Leadership

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Dana Heller Levitt

Committee Member

Leslie Kooyman

Committee Member

Edina Renfro Michael

Committee Member

David L. Keiser

Subject(s)

Mindfulness (Psychology) , Engagement (Philosophy) , Test anxiety, Middle school students

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between teaching mindful awareness skills to middle school students and both student engagement and test anxiety. The moderating effects of certain cultural characteristics (gender, race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status [SES], English as a second language [ESL], and disability status) on the relationship between teaching mindful awareness skills and both student engagement and test anxiety was also examined. A quasi-experimental pre-/post-test research design with a control group was employed. The Child and Adolescent Mindfulness Measure (CAMM), the Healthy Self-Regulation Scale (HSR), the Student School Engagement Measure (SSEM), and the brief version of the FRIEDBEN Test Anxiety Scale (B-FTAS) were administered at pre- and post-test. Two hundred eighty students assented to have their data used at pre-test and 242 students at post-test, which led to a matched dataset of 191 students. Due to a lack of fidelity of the control group, analysis was completed for the intervention group (N = 107) only. Data were analyzed to determine differences between pre- and post-test results and between demographic groups. Two separate hierarchical multiple linear regression analyses were conducted to investigate the predictability of teaching mindfulness directly and as moderated by the cultural characteristics of gender, race and ethnicity, SES, ESL and disability status to change students’ engagement with school and students’ level of test anxiety. Results indicated that post-test scores on the HSR predicted both student engagement and test anxiety, while post-test scores on the CAMM had a predictive relationship only with student engagement. Results were also analyzed at the subscale level providing further detail. Finally, students reported a high level of enjoyment learning mindfulness and half of students used mindfulness outside of class.

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