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A Research Proposal to Study the Impact of Sitting Meditation on Pediatric Patients with Anxiety

Background: Due to increased risks of suicide attempts and ideation as well as increased anxiety and depression levels, the effect of mindfulness practices has been widely studied as a way to increase the efficacy of conventional methods of treatment. Pediatric populations that have been researched include those with elevated anxiety levels and those with normal anxiety levels. Some are from inpatient psychiatric units, while others are from elementary schools. Objective: This research proposal would hope to determine the long term effect of sitting meditation on the average anxiety levels of pediatric patients with anxiety disorders in a psychiatric care unit. Methods: most reported studies measured outcomes through parent-reported and self-reported anxiety levels pre- and post- mindfulness intervention, one study from South Korea utilized the measurement of salivary cortisol levels for comparison before and after meditation as a way to determine the effects of meditation. While subjective anxiety levels are important and simple ways to measure anxiety levels, actual stress hormone levels are physiological, objective ways to measure anxiety that are less influenced by biases. This proposed study would include Both self-reported anxiety levels and salivary cortisol levels will be measured in this study to determine anxiety levels experiments pre- versus post- intervention. Results: Based on current evidence, hypothesized outcomes could be decreased average anxiety levels through self reports as well as decreased average cortisol levels over the course of three weeks of sitting meditation for 30 minutes with instruction every other day. Implications: Meditation can be taught to and used by children with the help of teachers and parents or guardians so that they can implement it into their daily lives. It can be used as a way to improve their overall well being by decreasing their baseline anxiety. This could in turn lessen the symptoms of suicidality as well as depression and improve overall mental health and happiness.

Mackenzie Healey '25
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