Stress in Post-Secondary: Toward an Understanding of Test-Anxiety, Cognitive Performance, and Brief Mindfulness Meditation


  • Raychel Colangelo
  • Karyn Audet



Premised on cultivating present-moment awareness, mindfulness meditation (MM) programs have been shown to significantly reduce state-anxiety and improve cognitive performance in post-secondary students. With increasing popularity, briefer MM formats have been introduced to post-secondary institutions to combat the rising prevalence of student test-anxiety. However, research examining the efficacy of brief MM on a state-level test-anxiety response and its ability to improve cognitive performance in a testing situation is sparse. The present study examined the immediate effects of brief MM on state test-anxiety and cognitive performance. A sample of 50 undergraduate college students (N = 50) were randomly assigned to a brief MM or a control activity. In the current study, it was hypothesized that there would be lower state test-anxiety levels and higher cognitive performance in the brief MM group than the control group. Results revealed that the brief MM group had greater state test-anxiety reduction than the control group at post-treatment. Consistent with previous work, brief MM, however, did not promote any specific short-term benefits for cognitive performance. Our findings, however, converge with past research to suggest that brief MM may produce immediate, short-term state test-anxiety relief. Immediate anxiety relief may be beneficial for students during stressful academic periods.