Background: Over recent decades, the number of students diagnosed with learning disabilities and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorders has substantially increased. These students face various challenges and experience stress when receiving higher education.
Aims: The purpose of this study was to compare two non-pharmacological interventions: mindfulness and device-guided slow breathing, with a control group.
Methods: Seventy-three students (age = 25.76, std. dev = 3.10) with attention problems and/or learning disabilities were randomly assigned to three groups: mindfulness meditation, device guided breathing practice and waiting-list control. Before and after the intervention physiological and psychological measures were collected.
Results: Our results show that only mindfulness practice improved awareness of the present moment and decreased hyperactivity and inattention. Furthermore, both mindfulness and practice with device-guided breathing were associated with stress reduction, as shown by an increase in the galvanic skin response only in the control group.
Conclusions: Implementation of the study results may lead to an advance in treating attention deficit disorders and learning disabilities, especially among higher education students.
Keywords: ADHD; Device-guided breathing; Learning disabilities; Mindfulness meditation; RESPeRATE; Stress.
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