Autogenic meditation training in a randomized controlled trial: A framework for promoting mental health and attention regulation in children
This study examined the meditative approach of autogenic training in the context of attention state training. The evidence suggests that attention can be improved through attention state training, which includes meditation as a technique to focus and maintain attention. Some studies also indicate that attention state training promotes emotional and behavioral regulation. However, this issue needs further scientific evidence. This study aimed to test the efficacy of autogenic meditation training as a strategy to enhance attention, reduce anxiety, and promote a better mental health profile in children.
Seventy Spanish students (M age = 9.77 years; SD age = 1.08 years) were randomly assigned to three conditions: autogenic meditation training, natural reading training (active control), and waiting list (passive control) conducted over a twelve-week period. Pre-post measures were collected for selective and sustained attention employing the d2 test; state and trait anxiety using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children; and a mental health screening compose of emotional symptoms, behavioral problems, hyperactivity-inattention, peer relationship problems, total difficulties index, and pro-social behavior with the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.
The results showed that children randomly assigned to autogenic meditation training experienced improved selective and sustained attention, reduced state and trait anxiety, and better general mental health than children randomized to natural reading training or a waitlist.
Findings suggest that autogenic meditation training provides an acceptable approach to improving attention, reducing anxiety, and promoting a better mental health profile in children.