UCL Grand Challenges


Boosting Positive Development in Adolescence

A pilot study on meditation in school.

1 October 2018


Grant: Grand Challenges Small Grants
Year awarded: 2018-19
Amount awarded: £3,990


  • Gabriella Conti, Social Sciences, Social and Historical Sciences
  • Pasco Fearon, Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, Brain Sciences

The project assessed the acceptability of meditation programmes in school settings, and their effects on adolescents’ academic achievement, self-esteem, stress, and social ties. The pilot randomized controlled trial took in an English secondary school and combined the knowledge of the neural and mental processes underlying adolescent development which are studied in the brain sciences domain with the expertise on how positive development is fostered through school-based interventions, coming from the educational and economic sciences.  

Following the pilot, the team has replicated the study in County Donegal, Ireland, and added a few measures for mental health and wellbeing.

The paper 'A Demonstration Study of the Quiet Time Transcendental Meditation Program' published in January 2022 in the journal Frontiers in Psychology describes the implementation and evaluation of a transcendental meditation intervention in schools in the UK and Ireland.

Outputs and Impacts