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Test anxiety is a concern among university students. Mindfulness-based colouring activities (mandalas) have been found to be effective for reducing university students’ generalized anxiety and for decreasing test anxiety in youth; however, studies have not used this method to address test anxiety with university students. Given that university students may struggle with higher test anxiety than youth, it is critical to examine the effectiveness of mindfulness colouring for test anxiety in a university setting.
This study compared the effectiveness of mindfulness colouring, free draw/colouring, and a non-colouring control activity for university students’ test anxiety. In addition, this study assessed the relationship of dispositional mindfulness and response to intervention on mindfulness and test anxiety states.
Participants were 167 university students (81.4% female; Mage=21.29 years, SD=4.46) randomly assigned to a mandala (n=57), free draw/colouring (n=58), or non-colouring condition (n=52). Participants completed standardized measures assessing test anxiety and state mindfulness pre-post-activity before completing a test, and two dispositional mindfulness measures.
Results from two repeated measures ANOVAs revealed significant decreases in test anxiety and significant increases in state mindfulness pre-post-intervention for both colouring conditions; however, significant increases in test anxiety were found for the control condition. Furthermore, mediation analyses showed that the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and post-intervention state mindfulness and test anxiety were fully mediated by participants’ pre-intervention state mindfulness and test anxiety. Findings from this research provide practical implications for universities, students, and teachers, as well as future directions for research on mindfulness-based art to support students’ well-being.
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