The Longitudinal Association between Mindfulness and School Performance: The Moderating Role of Sex
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Previous cross-sectional and experimental studies have associated increased levels of mindfulness in adolescents with several positive effects, including improved school performance. This longitudinal quantitative study additionally examined the potential mediator attention during homework and whether the effects of mindfulness on school performance and attention during homework differed for boys and girls. A sample of 835 participants (Mage = 12.69, SDage = 0.75, 50.3% girls, 49.7% boys) from six secondary educational schools completed self-reported questionnaires three times during a school year in 2014/2015. The study showed that adolescents with higher levels of mindfulness performed better at school. This relationship seemed to be partly explained by attention during homework because higher levels of mindfulness predicted better attention during homework which in turn predicted better performance in school. The effect of mindfulness on both attention during homework and school performance did not differ for boys and girls. The results suggest that schools need to become more aware of the potential positive effects of mindfulness, as it can be a promising way to improve adolescent’s performance in school. A relevant direction for future research would be exploring further underlying mechanisms of the relationship between mindfulness and school performance.