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Use of Meditation and Cognitive Behavioral Therapies for the Treatment of Stress, Depression and Anxiety in Students. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Department of Didactics of Musical, Artistic and Corporal Expression, University of Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4394; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224394
Received: 6 October 2019 / Revised: 5 November 2019 / Accepted: 8 November 2019 / Published: 10 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing)
The prevalence of mental health problems within students due to high academic demands and learning difficulties is a current challenge the field of education. The aim of this study is to review the scientific literature in order to analyze the effect produced by cognitive-behavioral programs and meditation strategies on stress, anxiety, and depression in students. A further aim is to identify the determinants of treatment success. The bibliographic search was carried out using Web of Science, specifically in the categories of “Education and Educational Research” and “Psychology”, obtaining a sample of 122 articles published between 2007 and 2018. Studies were included which had a pre-experimental or quasi-experimental design and included pre-test and post-test phases. Following application of inclusion criteria, 34 articles were selected for inclusion in a meta-analysis of the random effects of each variable. This obtained an average effect size of −0.41 for stress, −0.37 for anxiety, and −0.30 for depression. Three moderating variables were analyzed, with significant correlations being found for the type of treatment relating to stress (Q = 11.01, df = 2, p = 0.004, R2 = 0.294) and depression (Q = 6.14, df = 2, p = 0.048; R2 = 0.436). The stage of education of the individuals was also found to impact upon anxiety intervention success (Q = 13.093 df = 2, p = 0.0009, R2 = 0.196). Interventions mainly addressed the importance of meditation strategies, mindfulness programs, and cognitive-behavioral therapy to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression in students. This supports the need to increase research at an early age, considering the treatment of mental health as a key factor influencing academic performance and quality of life. View Full-Text
Keywords: stress; anxiety; depression; students; meta-analysis stress; anxiety; depression; students; meta-analysis
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González-Valero, G.; Zurita-Ortega, F.; Ubago-Jiménez, J.L.; Puertas-Molero, P. Use of Meditation and Cognitive Behavioral Therapies for the Treatment of Stress, Depression and Anxiety in Students. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4394.

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