Samatha Meditation Training for Students with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Effects on Active Academic Engagement and Math Performance

Nirbhay N. Singh, Giulio E. Lancioni, Laura Nabors, Rachel E. Myers, Joshua Felver, Ramasamy Manikam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Students with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have difficulty with academic work in school because they are inattentive and disruptive as a result of the core systems of their disorder. In addition to behavioral challenges frequently associated with ADHD, these students may also have deficits in working memory, planning and organization compound their problem and often lead to poor academic outcomes. Meditation has been shown to increase attention and executive functioning in a number of populations, including students with ADHD. Using an interrupted time series experimental design, 20 5th grade students with ADHD were taught Samatha meditation, and data were collected on active academic engagement in math instruction and percentage of math problems solved correctly pre- and post-training. When compared to the pre-intervention control condition, the Samatha meditation training resulted in statistically and academically significant increases in active student engagement in math instruction and percentage of math problems solved correctly. This study provides further proof of concept of the utility of Samatha meditation in enhancing academic performance in math in this population. These results suggest that Samatha meditation may enable students with ADHD to better focus their attention on academic instruction, to increase their awareness of their mind wandering during academic instruction, and to remember what they should be doing in the present moment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1867-1876
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018



  • Active academic engagement
  • Attention
  • Contemplative practices
  • Math
  • Mindfulness
  • Samatha meditation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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