Pilot Study of Effect of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Group Therapy for Improving Executive Function in Elementary School Children
Objectives : To develop and examine effect of the mindfulness-based group therapy (MBGT)
program in improving executive functioning among elementary school students.
Methods : Fifty-four 4th grade students from 2 classrooms of one public school in Bangkok
were recruited. Twenty-seven students from one classroom were assigned to a MBGT group,
and 27 students from the other classroom were assigned to a control group. The MBGT program
was conducted as a weekly one-hour session for 8 sessions. The main outcome was the
student’s executive function as measured by the teacher-rated executive function scale (EFS-T),
which assesses metacognition, emotional regulation and behavioral regulation. Assessments
were administered at baseline, prior to the intervention, and after completion of the intervention.
Changes in EFS-T scores between intervention and control groups were tested.
Results : Students in the MBGT group demonstrated better improvement in EFS-T scores of
total cognitive function, metacognition, emotional regulation and behavioral regulation
compared with those in the control group. Improvement in EFS-T scores were 9.37 (SD=4.15)
in MBGT group compared with 0.63 (SD=3.50) in control group for metacognition
(p <0.005),12.30 (SD=6.31) in MBGT group compared with 4.25 (SD=5.07) in control group
for emotional regulation (p <0.005), 9.00 (SD=5.80) in MBGT group compared with -0.89
(SD=2.81) in control group for behavioral regulation (p <0.005), and 10.70 (SD=4.65) in MBGT
group compared with 1.59 (SD=3.08) in control group for total score (p <0.005).
Conclusion : MBGT may be an effective school-based intervention that can improve executive
functioning in primary school students.