Effects of Mind Clearing Meditation on Depression, Social Anxiety, Aggression, and Salivary Cortisol Levels of Elementary School Children in South Korea

Research title

The Effects of Mind Subtraction Meditation on Depression, Social Anxiety, Aggression, and Salivary Cortisol Levels of Elementary School Children in South Korea


Journal of Pediatric Nursing (2016) 31


Yang-Gyeong Yoo RN, PhD, Department of Nursing, Kunsan National University, Kunsan, Korea
Duck-Joo Lee PhD, Department of Aerospace Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon, Korea
In-Soo Lee PhD, Department of Paramedic Science, Korea National University of Transportation, Korea
Namin Sin EdD, Department of Education, Dongguk University, Seoul, Korea
Ju-Yeon Park BA Gyesan Elementary School, Daejeon, Korea
Mi-Ra Yoon RN, PhD College of Nursing, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea
Boas Yu RN, EdD, FNP-BC, CNE, GCNS,⁎School of Nursing and Allied Health Professions, Holy Family University, Philadelphia, PA, USA


This study demonstrated improvements in social anxiety, aggression, and stress in elementary school students receiving the school-based mind subtraction meditation program. By recognizing negative aspects of emotions(stress, social anxiety, and aggression) and eliminating them through reflection, the meditation program was effective in transforming negative mindset to positive. Because these positive effects of the meditation program were possible with a short duration of meditation sessions offered during the school year, this suggests practicality and usefulness of such program for application in a variety of diverse healthcare settings.
Limitations of this study and recommendations for future studies are discussed. First, the sample size was small and there were no randomization with the groups, which would impact generalization of the findings. In the future, it is suggested that a larger sample size and randomization of the groups should be considered for this type of study. Secondly, this study only examined pretest and posttest during 8 weeks and did not evaluate the changes on a more long term basis.
A follow up assessment of long term duration would be suggested in the future studies. Thirdly, salivary cortisol levels were measured only once per pretest and posttest, and is a limitation. It is recommended that in the future, repeated testing and analysis should be considered for salivary cortisol levels.
Finally, this study was conducted in South Korea where the meditation program was readily accepted into school systems to enhance students’ social, psychological, and spiritual wellbeing. Elsewhere in the world, the implementation may be difficult or challenging to institute in school systems due to lack of awareness and knowledge about benefits of meditation, and others such as funding difficulties in offering school-based meditation programs, differences in organizational cultures, beliefs and values, and lack of administrative, staff, and parental supports.
In conclusion, this study demonstrates that the mind subtraction meditation program was adaptable and useful in its scientific and systematic approaches for elementary school students in lowering social anxiety, aggression, and stress. In order to facilitate full adaptability of the meditation program, there is a need to foster training for the meditation instructors in schools (Cho, 2006). When further developed and utilized, these programs in school curricular settings can contribute to psychological stability as well as decreases in aggressive behaviors in children (Park, 2006). Furthermore, for the meditation program to be fully utilized as a strategy for humanistic education in schools, more education-related and government-related organizations will need to participate and be involved in providing support.

Key words: Mind subtraction meditation; Elementary school students; School-based meditation program; Depression; Social anxiety; Aggression; Salivary cortisol; Stress

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