The Importance of Mindfulness in Explaining the Relationship Between Adolescents’ Anxiety and Dropout Intentions

Dana Carsley, Nancy L. Heath, Carlos Gomez-Garibello, Devin J. Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Failure to complete high school is associated with a myriad of negative outcomes. Some research has suggested a link between student anxiety and risk of dropout. Recently, there has been increasing evidence that mindfulness may diminish anxiety in adolescents; however, the relationship between anxiety, mindfulness and dropout has yet to be investigated. Thus, the current study examined the role of mindfulness and anxiety in adolescents’ intentions for dropping out of school. The sample consisted of 471 Grade 9 students (53.1 % female; Mage = 14.45 years, SD = .527). All participants completed the Beck Anxiety Inventory for Youth, the Child and Adolescent Mindfulness Measure and an English translation of Le questionnaire de dépistage des élèves à risque de décrochage scolaire (questionnaire for screening of students at risk of school dropout) in groups. Results showed that anxiety demonstrated a moderate significant negative association with mindfulness, and a low significant positive association with reports of dropout intention. A significant low negative correlation was also found for mindfulness and dropout intention. Interestingly, mindfulness was found to partially mediate the relationship between anxiety and dropout intention, with a medium effect. Implications for future research and practice regarding mindfulness as a protective factor for dropout intention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-86
Number of pages9
JournalSchool Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Adolescents
  • Anxiety
  • Dropout
  • Mindfulness


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