The practices associated with mindful awareness have been scientifically studied for over 40 years and include 10,600 published scientific journal articles.
An example of growth in the mindful awareness research literature from 1980 - 2022
Improves Academic, Mental Health, and Performance Outcomes for
both Students and Teachers
(selected abstracts from relevant studies)
Bakosh, L., Houlihan, J., Tobias, J., (2018). Audio-guided mindfulness training in schools
and its salutary effect on school attainment: Contributing to theory, practice, and
policy. Learning & Instruction, 58, 34-41.
New insights on the link between mindfulness and school achievement were reported in this Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) of a mindfulness intervention called Inner Explorer. The intervention was innovative and practical because its pre-recorded audio-guided 10-minute-a-day format minimized disruption to teaching resources and curriculum operations. The study showed students who were in the Inner Explorer intervention condition significantly increased their overall grade point averages (GPAs) by 29% in School A and 9.8% in School B, and increased their math grades by 27.9% in School A and 18% in School B. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly English Language Learners, benefitted from the intervention, which may help ease these students' pressure of growing up with chronic socioeconomic stressors. This study also collected data on teacher stress and well-being, showing a 43% reduction in stress and a 47% improvement in trait mindfulness.
Bakosh, L., Snow, R., Houlihan, J., Tobias, J., Barbosa-Leiker, C. (2016). Maximizing mindful
learning: An innovative mindful awareness intervention improves elementary students' quarterly grades. Journal of Mindfulness, 7, 59-67.
This controlled research study was conducted in eight 3rd grade classrooms to measure the effect of Inner Explorer, a 10-minute per day audio mindfulness-based social emotional learning (MBSEL) intervention on academic and behavior measures as well as on teaching operations. The results showed a statistically positive improvement of 16% GPA overall, 18.8% reading, 11.2% math, and 20.6% science grades. Additionally, students had 60% fewer behavior events as measured by principal office referrals, with no change to curriculum since the program was run during normal transition times.
Bellinger, D.B., Decara, M.S. (2015). Mindfulness, anxiety, and high-stakes mathematics
performance in the laboratory and classroom. Consciousness & Cognition, 37, 123-132.
Research demonstrates mindfulness' positive impact on both cognitive performance and emotional regulation. Since anxious thoughts disrupt cognitive control, a mindfulness practice may be beneficial for situations where anxiety interferes with positive performance, such as test taking. In Study 1, the authors determined that mindfulness practice indirectly benefited math performance through reduced state anxiety, particularly problems that required greater working memory. In Study 2, similar findings were found among undergraduate engineering majors and increased performance on high-stakes quizzes and exams by reducing their cognitive test anxiety." Findings show how mindfulness benefits academic performance and suggest a positive influence on lowering test anxiety.
Dunlap, R. (2023). An Analysis of the Impact of the Inner Explorer Mindfulness Program on Academic Growth of Elementary Students. University of North Carolina-Charlotte. ProQuest (pending journal publication).
Students experience many stressors that impact their academic achievement and overall well-being. Therefore, schools must explore methods to help students address stressors and to focus on academic learning. In the age of school accountability for academic growth and stagnant or shrinking budgets, schools must explore fiscally possible options that have a limited impact on school schedules. Mindfulness is a practice that has been shown to help students focus in on the learning environment at school in cost-effective and manageable ways. This clustered Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) sought to evaluate student academic growth for general education students (GES) and Students with Disabilities (SWD). The study found that students' math and reading grades and related standardized test scores (Measure of Academic Progress-MAPS) were significantly improved in the intervention condition versus the control condition. GES students who participated in Inner Explorer had 3.6% higher math grades and 4.3% higher math MAPS scores. GES students had a 3.2% higher reading grades and an 6.4% higher reading MAPS scores. As well, SWD students who participated in Inner Explorer had 6.3% higher reading grades and 26.6% higher reading MAPS scores. They also had 9.6% higher math grades and 22% higher math MAPS scores.
O'Hare AJ, Gemelli ZT (2023) The effects of short interventions of focused-attention vs.
self-compassion mindfulness meditation on undergraduate students: Evidence from self-report, classroom performance, and ERPs. PLOS ONE 18(1): e0278826.
Mindfulness interventions often combine teaching a skill (attentional focus) with teaching an attitude (non-judgmental compassion). When mindfulness interventions successfully affect a target behavior, it can be challenging to discern which of these two training features effectively caused the change. To determine what impacts each has, researchers tested the effects of focused-attention training versus self-compassion training on college students' well-being, academic performance, and brain activity. Students participated in 10 weeks of in-class focused-attention or self-compassion training, depending on their group assignment. The results showed the self-compassion group had significantly larger improvements on measures of anxiety (d =0.70), stress (d =0.80), and depression (d=0.92) than the focused-attention group. The self-compassion group also outperformed the focused-attention group on two of four academic exams covering the course material (d=0.56 and d=0.79). The focused-attention group showed significantly (partial n2=.13) shorter attention task reaction times (average = 80 ms) as compared to the self-compassion group. These results imply that combining the two types of training may offer mental health, academic, and attentional performance benefits.
Stager, A. (2022). Determining the degree to which active use of mindfulness with elementary students affects their annual state test scores in math. The University of LaVerne. ProQuest (pending journal publication)
Influencing early math learning may have long-term impacts on high school and college success. Practicing mindfulness regularly reduces math anxiety and improves performance on math tests. In this controlled trial, two comparable schools were evaluated, one K-6 school that used Inner Explorer regularly and another that did not use Inner Explorer. Their 6th-grade math scores on California standardized tests (CAASPP--California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) were measured to compare students who practiced regularly against those who did not. The school that used Inner Explorer showed a statistically significant increase of 7.8 points, equating to an improvement of 21% in the 6th-grade math test scores.
Phan ML, Renshaw TL, Caramanico J, Greeson JM, MacKenzie E, Atkinson-Diaz Z, Doppelt
N, Tai H, Mandell DS, Nuske HJ. Mindfulness-based school interventions: A systematic review of outcome evidence quality by study design. Mindfulness (N Y). 2022 Jul;13(7):1591-1613
This systematic review evaluated 77 studies conducted on Mindfulness-Based School interventions, specifically to evaluate the quality of the design of the studies, as well as the quantity of evidence across studies. This review included 2 previous studies on Inner Explorer. The review found overall promising results to support the integration of high-quality mindfulness programs into schools to support youth outcomes. The highest quality evidence ('A Grade') across outcomes indicated that MBSIs increased prosocial behavior, resilience, executive function, attention, and mindfulness, and decreased anxiety, attention problems/ADHD behaviors, and conduct behaviors. The highest quality evidence for well-being was split, with some studies showing increased well-being and some showing no improvements.
Hofmann, S. G., & Gomez, A. F. (2017). Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Anxiety and Depression. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 40(4), 739-749.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psc.2017.08.008
This article reviews the ways in which cognitive and behavioral treatments for depression and anxiety have been advanced by the application of mindfulness practices. Research on mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) has increased exponentially in the past decade. The most common include Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). MBIs have demonstrated efficacy in reducing anxiety and depression symptom severity in a broad range of treatment-seeking individuals. MBIs consistently outperform non-evidence-based treatments and active control conditions, such as health education, relaxation training, and supportive psychotherapy. MBIs also perform comparably to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). The treatment principles of MBIs for anxiety and depression are compatible with those of standard CBT.
Hoge, E. et al. (2018). The effect of mindfulness meditation training on biological acute stress responses in generalized anxiety disorder. Psychiatry Research, 262, 328-332.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2017.01.006
Mindfulness-Based interventions have increased in popularity in psychiatry, but the impact of these treatments on disorder-relevant biomarkers would greatly enhance efficacy and mechanistic evidence. If Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is successfully treated, relevant biomarkers should change, supporting the impact of treatment and suggesting improved resilience to stress. MBSR participants had a significantly greater reduction in ACTH AUC compared to control participants. Similarly, the MBSR group had a greater reduction in inflammatory cytokines' AUC concentrations. We found larger reductions in stress markers for patients with GAD in the MBSR class compared to control; this provides the first combined hormonal and immunological evidence that MBSR may enhance resilience to stress.
Hoge EA, Bui E, Mete M, Dutton MA, Baker AW, Simon NM. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction vs Escitalopram for the Treatment of Adults With Anxiety Disorders: A Randomized Clinical Trial. (2022.) JAMA Psychiatry. 2023;80(1):13-21. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2022.3679
In this randomized clinical trial, researchers compared the impact of MBSR to that of escitalopram (a generic form of Lexapro antidepressant) for the impact on anxiety disorders. Results were promising in that they demonstrated that the MBSR participants experienced the same level of benefit as those in the pharmacological group. This is exciting evidence that a non-pharmacological intervention can produce similar results without any negative side effects commonly associated with pharmacological interventions.
Marusak HA, Elrahal F, Peters CA, Kundu P, Lombardo MV, Calhoun VD, Goldberg EK, Cohen C, Taub JW, Rabinak CA. (2018). Mindfulness and dynamic functional neural connectivity in children and adolescents. Behav Brain Res. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2017.09.010
An fMRI study of 42 racially & economically diverse at-risk youth ages 7-17 demonstrated that the more mindful youth were more able to flexibly shift in and out of different brain states throughout the course of the brain scan. This study also found that the more flexible their brains were, the less anxiety they reported. These brain states were associated with different patterns of connectivity between brain networks involved in mind wandering, attention, and emotion processing. This brain flexibility may help explain some of the positive reported benefits of mindfulness training in children and adolescents, such as lower stress, anxiety, improvements in self-control and resilience.
Zhou, X., et al. (2020). Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on anxiety symptoms in young people: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychiatry Research, 289, 113002. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113002
The authors evaluated the efficacy of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) for young people with anxiety symptoms. The meta-analysis suggested that MBSR significantly reduced anxiety symptoms compared to control conditions at post-treatment. However, the effect of MBSR on anxiety symptoms in young people may be affected by different intervention duration, especially the significance in a short-term intervention (less than 8 weeks). Current evidence indicates MBSR has superior efficacy compared with control conditions in treating young people with anxiety symptoms.
Black, D. S., & Fernando, R. (2014). Mindfulness Training and Classroom Behavior Among Lower-Income and Ethnic Minority Elementary School Children. Journal of Child and Family studies, 23(7), 1242-1246.https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-013-9784-4
This study examined the effect of teacher-reported changes in classroom behavior as a result of a 5-week school-based mindfulness program. 409 kindergarten through sixth grade students were evaluated at pre, post, and 7-week post-intervention with regard to classroom behavior. Of the 409 students, 83% were enrolled in a California free lunch program and 95.7% were from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, including 52.3% Hispanics and 28.0% African Americans in Kindergarten through 6th grades. Teachers reported significant results for improved classroom behavior, including paying attention, participation, self-control and caring, and respect for others. These results were held at the 7-week post-intervention evaluation. Additional mindfulness training was shown to continue gains in student's ability to pay attention.
Bogels, Susan & Oort, Frans & Potharst, Eva & Roosmalen, Ruud & Williams, J. & Bruin, Esther. (2021). Family Mindfulness Training for Childhood ADHD: Short- and Long-Term Effects on Children, Fathers and Mothers. Mindfulness. 12. 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01761-y
Mindfulness-based interventions for ADHD are a novel treatment approach for which promising study results have begun to emerge. This study utilized a waiting period design, rather than a randomized controlled design, and used pre-post and 1-year follow-up ratings collections. The mindfulness training was an 8-week program with daily practice for 167 children aged 7-19, and their parents. Ratings collected immediately following the intervention, and 8-weeks after it ended, showed significant improvements in all areas. This was true for boys and girls, for children and adolescents, and did not depend on whether children were receiving medication. At the 1-year follow-up, these improvements remained evident, and ADHD symptoms actually had diminished further based on parents' report. The magnitude of the improvements in ADHD symptoms were in a range that would be considered a large effect. The authors note, however, that long-term follow-up data was only obtained on just over half the original sample. Similar results were found for parents' report of their own ADHD symptoms, as well as a reduction in their own emotions and behavioral problems and reduced stress.
Carsley, D., Khoury, B., & Heath, N. L. (2017). Effectiveness of Mindfulness Interventions for Mental Health in Schools: a Comprehensive Meta-analysis. Mindfulness, 9(3), 693-707.https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0839-2
Mindfulness interventions have increasingly been incorporated in elementary and high school classrooms to support students' mental health and well-being; however, there is little research examining the specific factors contributing to the effectiveness of the interventions. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to examine the specific effects of and moderators contributing to school based mindfulness interventions for mental health in youth. A systematic review of studies was conducted. A total of 24 studies (n = 3977) were included in the meta-analysis. Overall, mindfulness interventions were found to be helpful, with small to moderate significant effects pre-post intervention compared to control groups; however, interventions that were delivered during late adolescence (15-18) and that consisted of combinations of various mindfulness activities had the largest effects on mental health and well-being outcomes.
Diamond, Adele & Lee, Kathleen (2011). Interventions shown to aid executive function: Development in children 4 to 12 years old. Science, 333, 959-964. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1204529
This review looks at 6 activities used to improve executive functions (EF). It states that all successful programs involve repeated practice. In the mindful awareness group, with 7 to 9 year-olds they found a significant improvement with self-regulation and emotional control skills in children who had initially poorer EFs than those with initially better EFs compared with controls.
Dunning, D. L., et al. (2018). Research Review: The effects of mindfulness-based Interventions on cognition and mental health in children and adolescents - a meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12980
Mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) are an increasingly popular way of attempting to improve the behavioral, cognitive and mental health outcomes of children and adolescents, though there is a suggestion that enthusiasm has moved ahead of the evidence base. Most evaluations of MBIs are either uncontrolled or nonrandomized trials. This meta-analysis aims to establish the efficacy of MBIs for children and adolescents in studies that have adopted a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) design. Across all RCTs the authors found significant positive effects of MBIs, relative to controls, for the outcome categories of Mindfulness, Executive Functioning, Attention, Depression, Anxiety/Stress and Negative Behaviors, with small effect sizes.
Flook, L. et al. (2010). The effects of mindful awareness practices on executive function in elementary school children, Journal of Applied School Psychology, 26: 1, 70-95. https://doi.org/10.1080/15377900903379125
These two pilot studies demonstrated that mindful awareness practices improve executive function in elementary school children. Children who were initially less well-regulated showed the strongest improvements subsequent to training, as compared to children in the control group who did not receive the training. Specifically, there was improvement in self-regulatory abilities among preschool and elementary school students who participated in an 8-week modified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training program, taught in two 30-minute sessions per week.
Lemberger-Truelove ME, Ceballos PL, Molina CE, Carbonneau KJ. (2021). Growth in Middle School Students' Curiosity, Executive Functioning, and Academic Achievement: Results From a Theory-Informed SEL and MBI School Counseling Intervention. Professional School Counseling. https://doi.org/10.1177/2156759X211007654
109 ethnically diverse middle school students, including 20% African American and 63% Hispanic children, participated in a modified 6-week MBSEL program delivered by counselors using the Advocating Student-within Environment (ASE) approach. The classroom randomized program produced significant effects for the treatment group in students' changes in stress tolerance, social curiosity, executive functioning (i.e., shift, plan and organize, and task monitoring), and academic achievement (i.e., mathematics, science, English, and social studies).
Lindsay EK. (2021) Mindfulness interventions for offsetting health risk following early life stress: Promising directions. Brain, Behavior, & Immunity- Health. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbih.2021.100338
This paper examines the positive impact of mindfulness interventions on Early Life Stress (ELS). Early life stress (ELS), common to childhood maltreatment, socioeconomic disadvantage, and racial discrimination, is thought to create a proinflammatory phenotype that increases risk for poor health in adulthood. African Americans in particular are at increased risk of experiencing ELS due to socio-economic and racial disparities, among other factors. The author proposes that ongoing negative impacts of ELS may be ameliorated by mindfulness practice. Further extrapolation of this concept implies that interrupting ELS or reducing the immediate impact of ELS in childhood may also reduce the negative long-term health impact of ELS in adulthood.
Lopez, L. et al (2020). A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Brief Daily Mindfulness Intervention in 39 Head Start Classrooms. [pending publication]. University of South Florida.
The Office of Head Start has emphasized a focus on instruction of school readiness skills such as pre-literacy, oral language, and executive functioning alongside a focus on trauma-informed care to ensure Head Start graduates start kindergarten at an equal advantage to their higher-resourced peers. This Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) was conducted with staff in 39 Head Start classrooms across 13 centers. They implemented Inner Explorer's 5-minute-a-day Early Learning series when school was in session. Teachers in the intervention sites experienced significant reductions in stress, burnout, and secondary trauma, as well as increased mindfulness, classroom management and compassion satisfaction. Students were assessed on measures of Executive Functioning (EF) skills, including Memory, Inhibitory Control, Attention Shifting, and Oral Language and Pre-literacy skills. Students performed better on EF measures of Inhibitory Control and Attention Shifting after implementing the IE program.
Mak, C., et al. (2018). Efficacy of Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Attention and Executive Function in Children and Adolescents-a Systematic Review. Mindfulness, 9, 59-78. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0770-6
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions including mindful movements such as yoga on attention and executive function in children and adolescents. Systematic searches were conducted, included studies consisting of randomized or quasi-randomized controlled trials with a mindfulness-based intervention were assessed for quality, and relevant data was extracted and collated. Thirteen randomized control trials were identified as meeting inclusion criteria. Studies recruited adolescents or children that were typically developing, diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, orphans, or had reading difficulties, or in correctional schools/institutions The study found that mindfulness-based interventions are promising approach to targeting attention and executive function in children and adolescence, especially with the use of computerized measures as outcome measures.
Valero, M., Cebolla, A., & Colomer, C. (2022). Mindfulness Training for Children with ADHD and Their Parents: A Randomized Control Trial. Journal of Attention Disorders, 26(5), 755-766. https://doi.org/10.1177/10870547211027636
This randomized controlled study evaluated the efficacy of an 8-week mindfulness training program (MyMind) on children with ADHD and their parents. 30 children (9-14 years old) with an ADHD diagnosis and their parents. Participants were randomized into two groups, the MYmind group (n=15) and a wait-list group (n=15). Participants were assessed in three time periods: pre-, post-intervention, and at 6-month follow-up. After the program, parents reported a decrease in parenting stress and improvements in parenting styles. Six months after the intervention, parents reported significant improvements in children's inattention symptoms, executive functions, learning problems, aggression, and peer relations. Overreactivity was the only variable that showed a decrease in both the post-test and follow-up periods. This shows an ongoing impact over time, even after the program had ended, possibly indicating an integration of skills that continued to improve outcomes.
Vickery, C. E., & Dorjee, D. (2016). Mindfulness Training in Primary Schools Decreases Negative Affect and Increases Meta-Cognition in Children. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 2025. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.02025
An 8-week mindfulness program (Paws b) for children aged 7-9 years was delivered by school teachers within a regular school curriculum. Pre-post surveys found a decrease in negative affect and a large teacher-reported improvement in meta-cognition, as measured by the BRIEF scales of 5 indices: Initiate, Working Memory, Plan/Organize, Organization of Materials, and Monitor. In addition, 76% of the children reported that they "liked" practicing mindfulness in school and wanted to continue.
Liu X, Xiao R, Tang W. (2022). The Impact of School-Based Mindfulness Intervention on Bullying Behaviors Among Teenagers: Mediating Effect of Self-Control. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. https://doi.org/10.1177/08862605211052047
Students who engage in bullying behaviors are also found to lack empathy and self-control. This study evaluated a cluster of students who received a mindfulness intervention compared to those who did not. A cluster randomized controlled trial was conducted, in which the experimental group received mindfulness intervention, and the control group did not. The measured outcomes included: bullying behavior, self-control, and trait mindfulness. They showed significant positive impact of the mindfulness intervention group. The post-test scores of trait mindfulness and self-control in the experimental group significantly increased while the scores of bullying behavior significantly decreased. Additionally, trait mindfulness was positively associated with self-control, whereas trait mindfulness and self-control were both negatively associated with bullying behavior. The mediating effect of self-control accounted for 50% of the overall effect of trait mindfulness on bullying behavior.
Franco C, Amutio A, Lopez-Gonzalez L, Oriol X, Martínez-Taboada C. Effect of a Mindfulness Training Program on the Impulsivity and Aggression Levels of Adolescents with Behavioral Problems in the Classroom. Front Psychol. 2016 Sep 22;7:1385. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01385
Impulsivity is a risk factor associated with reactive aggression and antisocial behavior during adolescence. Aggression and impulsivity have both been shown to lead to substance abuse, mental disorders, reading problems, and poor academic results as well. Mindfulness skills can help students stay focused on the present, reducing obsessive ruminations and enhancing the experience of positive emotions, as well as diminishing impulsive behaviors, which, in general, can then lead to aggressive behaviors. In this study, a small group of 12- 19-year-olds were randomized into either a control or intervention group. The mindfulness program consisted of a 15-minute mindfulness training delivered once weekly over 10 weeks, and results from the pre-post surveys demonstrated reductions of approximately 24% in verbal aggression and 10% in the non-planned impulsivity dimension.
Zhang, A., Zhang, Q. How could mindfulness-based intervention reduce aggression in adolescent? Mindfulness, emotion dysregulation and self-control as mediators. Curr Psychol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-01778-5
An 8-week mindfulness-based intervention delivered to 80 teenagers resulted in significant increases in mindfulness and self-control, and the study authors determined that these changes mediated a corresponding decrease in emotion dysregulation and aggression.
Coatsworth JD, Timpe Z, Nix RL, Duncan LG, Greenberg MT. (2018). Changes in Mindful Parenting: Associations With Changes in Parenting, Parent-Youth Relationship Quality, and Youth Behavior. J Soc Social Work Res. https://doi.org/10.1086/701148
The study investigated changes in Mindful parenting and the impact on developmental outcomes for youth. Participants include 432 families. Changes in mindful parenting were strongly associated with positive parenting, Parent-Youth Relationship Quality, and youth aggression. It was noted that fathers who received mindfulness training showed greater change in mindful parenting, especially with regard to emotional awareness of the child, than fathers who did not receive the training. According to the authors, " changes in mindful parenting... Could lead to reduced youth behavioral problems (eg. aggression and substance abuse) and provide additional evidence for the contribution that mindfulness activities can make to standard parent training."
Lopez-Maya E, Olmstead R, Irwin MR. (2019). Mindfulness Meditation and Improvement in Depressive Symptoms Among Spanish- and English Speaking Adults: A Randomized, Controlled, Comparative Efficacy Trial. PLoS One. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0219425
The majority of research to date has been conducted in English speaking populations. However, according to the authors, " Latino immigrants experience acculturative stress and increased depressive symptoms". Two groups of adults between 18-60 years old, one Spanish speaking, one English speaking, and both with moderate levels of perceived stress, were randomized. Participants received either 6 weeks of mindfulness awareness practices (MAPs) or health education (HE). Participants in the MAPs group not only increased levels of mindfulness, but also showed greater improvements in depressive symptoms at post intervention than (HE). The authors concluded that, "the scalability, relative low cost and accessibility of mindfulness programs has the potential to address the need for Community based interventions to be delivered to Spanish-speaking communities in the U.S".
Chi, X., et al. (2018). Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on Depression in Adolescents and Young Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01034
This systematic review and meta-analysis evaluated the effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in the treatment of depression among adolescents and young adults. Electronic databases and references in articles were searched. Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) evaluating MBSR and reporting outcomes for depressive symptoms among young people aged 12 to 25 years were included. Eighteen RCTs featuring 2,042 participants were included in the meta-analysis. The moderate effect size of MBSR suggests that it is a promising approach in terms of reducing depressive symptoms and can be widely applied to treat depression or depressive symptoms among young people with various levels of depression severity, from expressing depressive symptoms to having a clinical diagnosis of depression. Given an increasing interest in positive education, MBSR that targets positive mental health could be incorporated into school-based educational programs to promote students' emotional well-being. The study also found longer treatment duration (e.g., 8 weeks or more) is associated with larger follow-up effect size. This may suggest that the use of full-length MBSR may be necessary for adolescents and young adults to result in a larger sustaining effect.
Heath, N. et al. (2016). The Relationship Between Mindfulness, Depressive Symptoms, and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Amongst Adolescents. Archives of Suicide Research, 20(4), 635-649. https://doi.org/10.1080/13811118.2016.1162243%20
Mindfulness is often part of treatment for non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI); however, there has been limited research examining the role of mindfulness in NSSI. Thus, the current study sought to investigate the relationship between mindfulness, depressive symptoms and NSSI (past year) in adolescents with consideration of gender. Findings revealed that mindfulness and depressive symptoms were negatively correlated, although significantly less so for the NSSI group. Second, the NSSI group reported greater depressive symptoms and less mindfulness. Finally, mindfulness was found to partially mediate the effect of depressive symptoms on NSSI. The present study is the first to provide empirical support for the protective role of mindfulness in NSSI.
Cheang, R., Gillions, A. & Sparkes, E. (2019). Do Mindfulness-Based Interventions Increase Empathy and Compassion in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review. Journal of Child and Family Studies. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-019-01413-9
Empathy and compassion are important components of prosocial behavior, which can lead to greater peer acceptance and positive relationships in children and adolescents. Cultivating an environment in which racial bias and discrimination are decreased, while empathy and kindness are increased, would make a positive impact on stressful experiences of diverse racial and ethnic populations, and correspondingly will lead to reductions in health disparities and negative health outcomes. This systematic review of the impact of mindfulness-based interventions on children and adolescents 5-18 years old found 16 studies that provided convincing evidence that mindfulness training increases levels of empathy. Further, there was some evidence to suggest that MBIs increase self-compassion in this population and that this was correlated with an increase in mindfulness as well.
Lueke, A., & Gibson, B. (2016). Brief Mindfulness Meditation Reduces Discrimination. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice. https://doi.apa.org/doi/10.1037/cns0000081
White participants listened to a 10-minute mindfulness meditation before playing a game in which they interacted with Black partners in this randomized controlled study. The simulation required the participants to trust the partners. Those who practiced mindfulness showed an increase in state mindfulness scores and demonstrated significantly less discrimination against partners of different race in the trust game than either of the 2 control groups.
Oyler DL, Price-Blackshear MA, Pratscher SD, Bettencourt BA. (2021). Mindfulness and intergroup bias: A systematic review. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations. 25(4), 1107-1138. https://doi.org/10.1177/1368430220978694
The tendency to favor the ingroup over the outgroup has negative consequences for individuals, groups, and societies. Social psychologists have explored a variety of techniques to reduce these intergroup biases. Emerging research suggests that mindfulness may be effective for this purpose. This systematic review of 36 studies found a small but significant positive effect of mindfulness on improved levels of intergroup bias.
Mrazek AJ, Mrazek MD, Cherolini CM, Cloughesy JN,Cynman DJ, Gougis LJ, Landry AP,Reese JV, Schooler JW. (2018). The Future of Mindfulness Training Is Digital, and The Future is Now. Current Opinion in Psychology, 28, 81-86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2018.11.012
The article, supported by a U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Educations Sciences grant, points to multiple advantages of a digital approach to mindfulness training, including accessibility, standardization, personalized learning, and efficacy. Digital delivery can reduce geographical, logistical and financial barriers and ensures a standardized high-quality instruction. Research "suggests that well-designed digital training can elicit equal or even greater outcomes". For example, in a study by Adele Krusche and University of South Hampton, an online course based in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) had comparable outcomes with face-to-face mindfulness training and showed significantly decreased measures of perceived stress, anxiety and depression. Further, the article finds existing research demonstrates that digital mindfulness-based instruction can "improve individual's attention and well-being."
Berghof, C., Wheeless, L., Ritzert, T., Wooley, C., Forsyth, J. (2017). Mindfulness Meditation Adherence in a College Sample: Comparison of a 10-Min versus 20-Min 2-Week Daily Practice. Mindfulness. 8. 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0717-y
118 undergraduate students participated in the study which was designed to compare the amount of time spent practicing mindfulness and outcomes of adherence, stress, and self-compassion. Adherence rates were similar for both groups. The study found that daily mindfulness practices of either 10 minutes or 20 minutes offered a significant pre to post increase in mindfulness as well as a reduction in stress, "suggesting that sustaining practice of brief mindfulness exercises over time confers positive benefits." Further, self-compassion also increased with both mindfulness practice lengths.
Kuyken, W., et al. (2013). Effectiveness of the Mindfulness in Schools Programme: Non-randomized controlled feasibility study. British Journal of Psychiatry, 203(2), 126-131. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.113.126649
Research positively correlates mindfulness practice with greater well-being for adults. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of a mindfulness intervention to enhance emotional and mental well-being. The study involved 522 students, ages 12-16, in 12 secondary schools. In the six schools that received the mindfulness program, students experienced significantly lower rates of depression immediately following the program and at post follow-up. After three months, students reported lower stress and greater well-being. Those in the mindfulness intervention that practiced more frequently saw even more benefit in terms of increased well-being and lower stress. This study highlights the benefits of mindfulness practice in a school setting for improved well-being in adolescents.
Treves IN, Li CE, Wang KL, OzernovPalchik O, Olson HA, Gabrieli JDE (2023) Mindfulness supports emotional resilience in children during the COVID-19 pandemic. PLOS ONE 18(7): e0278501. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0278501
Trait mindfulness refers to one's disposition or tendency to attend to experiences with an open and nonjudgmental attitude and can be measured by self-report questionnaires. Greater trait mindfulness in children has been associated with more resilience, and an important foundation of children's mental health is this capacity to bounce back from emotional challenges. This study aimed to evaluate whether children's levels of trait mindfulness influenced their ability to cope with adverse events like the COVID-19 pandemic. 163 eight-to-ten-year-old children participated in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) examining the potential benefits of an audiobook intervention on reading outcomes, in which self-reported surveys of trait mindfulness were evaluated. Results showed that higher scores of trait mindfulness were associated with more positive mental health outcomes in response to the severe life changes of the COVID-19 pandemic. Critically, trait mindfulness moderated the relationship between COVID-19 child impact and negative affect. The authors proposed that mindfulness may support emotional resilience through the mechanisms of non-judgment and acceptance of emotions.
Davidson, R. J. et al. (2012). Contemplative practices and mental training: prospects for American education. Child Development Perspectives, 6(2) 146-153. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1750-8606.2012.00240.x
The authors put forth that it is possible to cultivate positive qualities, to highlight a set of mental skills and socioemotional dispositions that are central to the aims of education in the 21st century. These include self-regulation skills associated with emotion and attention and prosocial dispositions such as empathy and compassion. They believe this can be accomplished through systematic contemplative practice, which changes brain structure and function to support academic success.
Flook, L., Goldberg, S. B., Pinger, L., & Davidson, R. J. (2014). Promoting prosocial behavior and self-regulatory skills in preschool children through a mindfulness-based kindness curriculum. Developmental Psychology, 51(1), 44-51. https://doi.apa.org/doi/10.1037/a0038256
68 ethnically diverse preschool students participated in a mindfulness based program in a public school setting to measure impact on prosocial behavior, executive function, and self-regulation. The mindfulness intervention group showed greater improvements in social competence and received higher grades from teachers in the following areas: learning, health, and social emotional development. Those students who were initially lower in social competence and executive functioning showed the greatest improvements as compared to the control group. The control group displayed more selfish behavior over time.
Schonert-Reichl, K. A., Oberle, E., Lawlor, M. S., Abbott, D., Thomson, K., Oberlander, T. F., & Diamond, A. (2015). Enhancing cognitive and social-emotional development through a simple-to-administer mindfulness-based school program for elementary school children: A randomized controlled trial. Developmental Psychology, 51(1), 52-66. https://doi.org/10.1037%2Fa0038454
This study was initiated to determine the effectiveness of an SEL program when combined with mindful awareness to positively impact stress levels, pro-sociality, cognitive function and overall well-being -- all linked to positive school outcomes. Two groups of combined 4th and 5th graders participated in this study with one group assigned to the SEL/Mindfulness program and the other a social responsibility program. Those students in the SEL/Mindfulness program saw greater improvements in cognitive control, stress reduction, empathy, emotional control and optimism. They also experienced self-reported decreases in depression and peer aggression. They were rated by peers as more prosocial and gained in peer acceptance. The results underscore the potential of SEL intervention with mindfulness programs.
Costello, Elizabeth; Lawler, Margaret. (2014) An Exploratory Study of the Efects of Mindfulness on Perceived Levels of Stress among School-Children from Lower Socioeconomic Backgrounds. International Journal of Emotional Education, v6 n2 p21-39. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1085614
Research clearly links stress to decreased health and well-being as well as negative outcomes for student success. A lower socioeconomic background increases the risk for student stress, behavioral problems, social-emotional challenges and poor academic performance. These increase the risk of a student dropping out of school altogether. While many studies focus on teacher reported change and/or quantitative outcomes, this study focuses on children's experiences of mindfulness as it relates to stress. 63 primary school children who were at risk of social exclusion participated in a 5-week school-based, mindfulness program. Interviews with 16 children and 2 teachers identified five areas: conceptualization of stress, awareness, self-regulation, classroom regulation, and future stress. Quantitative analysis of children's perceived stress levels pre- and postintervention demonstrated significant reductions in stress levels. The authors' conclude, "These findings offer support for the incorporation of mindfulness interventions into the school curriculum, as a means of empowering children to address stress.
Holzel, B.K, et al (2011). Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Res. 191, (1), 36-43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pscychresns.2010.08.006
The authors analyzed the neural mechanisms associated with mindful awareness practice. Using MR images they compared pre and post brain scan to measure regional gray matter density. They found that those who practiced mindful awareness, compared to controls, had increases in grey matter concentration in the left hippocampus, the posterior cingulate cortex, the temporo-parietal junction and the cerebellum. This suggests that mindful awareness practices can increase brain size in regions involved in learning, memory processing, emotion regulation, self-referential processing, and perspective taking.
Jha, A. P., Stanley, E. A., Kiyonaga, A., Wong, L., & Gelfand, L. (2010). Examining the protective effects of mindfulness training on working memory capacity and affective experience. Emotion, 10(1), 54-64. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0018438
This study measured the effects of mindful awareness training on working memory capacity (WMC). WMC is used in managing cognitive demands and regulating emotions. Yet persistent stress may deplete WMC and lead to cognitive failures and emotional disturbances. The authors found that participants who had mindful awareness training improved WMC compared to a control group. They also found that practice time mediated the gains in WMC as well as gains in wellbeing and reductions in stress and anxiety.
Mendelson, T., Greenberg, M., Dariotis, J., Gould, L. F., Rhoaedes, B., & Leaf, P. (2010). Feasibility and preliminary outcomes of a school-based mindfulness intervention for urban youth. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 38, (7), 985-994. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-010-9418-x
This paper reports findings from a pilot randomized controlled trial assessing the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary outcomes of a school-based mindfulness and yoga intervention. The study was conducted with four urban public schools, 4th and 5th graders, for 12 weeks. The findings suggest that the intervention was attractive to students, teachers, and school administrators and that it had a positive impact on problematic responses to stress including rumination, intrusive thoughts, and emotional arousal.
Schonert-Reichl, K. & Lawlor, M. S.(2010). The effects of mindful-based education program on pre-and early adolescents' well-being and social and emotional competence. Mindfulness, 1, 137-151. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-010-0011-8
This study evaluated the effectiveness of the Mindful Education (ME) program using self-reporting measure by the students on optimism, general and school self-concept, and positive and negative affect and by teacher ratings of classroom social and emotional competence. The results showed that there was a significant increase in optimism by students in the ME program, and there was an effect for self-concept. Teacher rated classroom social competent behaviors were found favoring for the ME program and they reported that they were easily able to integrate the short mindful attention exercises within their classrooms.
Treves, I. et al. (2023) At-Home use of App-Based Mindfulness for Children: A Randomized Active-Controlled Trial. Mindfulness. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-023-02231-3
This RCT, conducted with 8-10 year olds, investigated the efficacy of the Inner Explorer mindfulness-based SEL app as compared to 2 active controls listening to audiobooks. Authors specifically sought to rigorously test whether Inner Explorer delivered remotely is beneficial for children, and thus shed light on the effectiveness of app-based mindfulness interventions for children generally. This study explored the benefits of children using the mindfulness program at home with parent involvement over 8 weeks during the pandemic, when social and academic restrictions were in place. Results showed that those children who were more consistent in using the program showed the most benefits, and all children who used it showed effects, including reduced child-reported negative affect, and also parent reports of improved global executive composite (GEC), improved behavioral regulation index (BRI), reduced child depression symptoms, reduced parent stress, and reduced child negative affect. The mindfulness group who practiced with Inner Explorer had greater decreases in parent-reported child negative affect than the controls, and there was evidence that participants who engaged with the mindfulness intervention more often showed larger reductions in negative affect, as well as reduced parental stress and child self-perceived stress. The researchers noted that a scalable and affordable web-based program like Inner Explorer may be particularly especially salient given evidence for increasing risk for mental health difficulties in children in the USA.
Woods- Giscombe CL, et al. (2019) A Mixed-Methods, Randomized Clinical Trial to Examine Feasibility of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Management and Diabetes Risk Reduction Intervention for African Americans with Prediabetes. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/3962623
African Americans have disproportionately high rates of stress-related conditions, including diabetes and diabetes-related morbidity. Psychological stress may negatively influence engagement in risk-reducing lifestyle changes (physical activity and healthy eating) and stress-related physiology that increase diabetes risk. This pilot study evaluated the feasibility of implementing an eight-week mindfulness-based diabetes risk-reduction education program for prediabetes (MPD) versus a conventional diabetes risk-reduction education program for prediabetes (CPD) among African American adults with prediabetes who are experiencing stress. Results found that this adapted MBSR program was associated with improvements in stress, body mass index, and spiritual well-being.
Alizadehgoradel, J., Imani, S., Nejati, V., Fathabadi, J. (2019). Mindfulness-based substance abuse treatment (MBSAT) improves executive functions in adolescents with substance use disorders. Neurology, Psychiatry and Brain Research (34) 13-21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.npbr.2019.08.002
Studies show promise for the treatment of substance abuse through mindfulness practice. However, the neural mechanisms of mindfulness practice for treating substance use disorders are still unclear. Evidence suggests that major deficits in executive functions such as inhibitory control, risky behavior and decision-making, psychological flexibility, and working memory are associated with a craving to use. The current study investigated the efficacy of mindfulness practice on improving executive functions, assessed by neuroscientific tools, in a group of adolescents with methamphetamine use disorders. Results showed that mindfulness-based intervention improved executive functions in the experimental group compared to controls. This study is the first to support the benefits of mindfulness-based practice in improving executive functions of adolescents with methamphetamine use disorders.
Dakwar, E., Levin, F. (2009). The Emerging Role of Meditation in Addressing Psychiatric Illness, with a Focus on Substance Use Disorders. Har Rev Psychiatry, 17(4) 254-267. https://doi.org/10.1080/10673220903149135
Over the past 30 years the practice of meditation has become increasingly popular in clinical settings. In addition to evidence-based medical uses, meditation may have psychiatric benefits. In this review, the literature on the role of meditation in addressing psychiatric issues, and specifically substance use disorders, is discussed. A brief discussion then integrates the research that has been completed thus far, elucidates the specific ways that meditation may be helpful for substance use disorders, and suggests new avenues for research.
Garland, E., et al. (2019). Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement reduces opioid misuse risk via analgesic and positive psychological mechanisms: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 87(10), 927-940. https://doi.apa.org/doi/10.1037/ccp0000390
Despite the heightened urgency of the current prescription opioid crisis, few psychotherapies have been evaluated for chronic pain patients receiving long-term opioid analgesics. Current psychological pain treatments focus primarily on ameliorating negative affective processes, yet basic science suggests that risk for opioid misuse is linked with a dearth of positive affect. Interventions that modulate positive psychological processes may produce therapeutic benefits among patients with opioid-treated chronic pain. The Randomized Controlled Trial assessed the Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE), an integrative intervention designed to promote positive psychological health. Participants in the program reported significantly greater reductions in pain severity by posttreatment and opioid misuse risk by 3-month follow-up and significantly greater increases in positive psychological health than SG participants. Increases in positive psychological health mediated the effect of MORE on pain severity by posttreatment, which in turn predicted decreases in opioid misuse risk by follow-up. Targeting positive psychological mechanisms via MORE and other psychological interventions may reduce opioid misuse risk among chronic pain patients receiving long-term opioid therapy.
Pokhrel, P., et al. (2013). Adolescent Neurocognitive Development, Self-Regulation, and School-Based Drug Use Prevention. Prevention Science, 14(3), 218-228. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-012-0345-7
Adolescence is marked by several key development related changes, including neurocognitive changes. Cognitive abilities associated with self-regulation are not fully developed until late adolescence or early adulthood whereas tendencies to take risks and seek thrilling experiences and novel experience seem to increase significantly throughout this phase, resulting in a discrepancy between increased susceptibility to poor regulation and lower ability to exercise self-control. Increased vulnerability to drug use initiation, maintenance, and dependence during adolescence may be explained based on this imbalance in the self-regulation system. In this paper, the authors highlight the relevance of schools as a setting for delivering adolescent drug use prevention programs that are based on recent findings from neuroscience concerning adolescent brain development. They discuss evidence from school-based as well as laboratory research that suggests that suitable training may improve adolescents' executive brain functions that underlie self-regulation abilities and, as a result, help prevent drug use and abuse. In particular, preliminary findings suggest that computerized training and mindfulness meditation practices could be effectively integrated into school-based prevention programming.
Riggs, N., Greenberg, M., Dvorakova, K. (2019). A Role for Mindfulness and Mindfulness Training in Substance Use Prevention. Prevention of Substance Use, Advances in Prevention Science. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-00627-3_21
Substance use during adolescence remains a significant public health issue and there continues to be significant room for the improvement of substance use preventive interventions. Neurodevelopmental theory, empirically supported mindfulness-based SUD treatments, and the feasibility and acceptability of youth mindfulness-based preventive interventions in fields related to substance use suggest the potential value of mindfulness practices as an approach to youth substance use prevention.
Collins, K. et al. (2018). Mind full of life: Does mindfulness confer resilience to suicide by increasing zest for life? Journal of Affective Disorders, 226, 100-107. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2017.09.043
Mindfulness is a trainable skill that may enhance resilience to suicidality among vulnerable groups such as young people. The current study examined whether mindfulness protects against suicidal desire in the face of heightened risk and adversity by increasing zest for life in a sample of university students. . Findings suggest that mindfulness protects against suicidal desire in conditions of heightened risk and adversity by enhancing one's orientation towards a life worth living. Theories of suicide should consider the dynamic interplay between risk and life-sustaining resilience, while clinicians treating suicidality coulduse mindfulness strategies to strengthen the desire to (re)engage with life, thereby complementing direct amelioration of suicide risk factors.
Fang, Y., Zeng, B., Chen, P., Mai, Y., Teng, S., Zhang, M., Zhao, J., Yang, X., & Zhao, J. (2019). Mindfulness and Suicide Risk in Undergraduates: Exploring the Mediating Effect of Alexithymia. Frontiers in Psychology, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02106
The present study was designed to examine the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and suicide risk in undergraduates, and it further explored the potential mediating role of alexithymia in this relationship. The results indicate that mindfulness and suicide risk were negatively correlated, and alexithymia partially mediated the relationship between mindfulness and suicide risk only in the female undergraduates. Moreover, only the difficulty in identifying feelings (DIF) factor of alexithymia mediated the relationship between mindfulness and suicide risk in the female undergraduates. These findings contribute to the potential mechanism that explains the relationship between mindfulness and suicide risk. Furthermore, it is possible to implement mindfulness in the suicide intervention of alexithymic individuals.
Le, T. N., & Gobert, J. M. (2013). Translating and Implementing a Mindfulness-Based Youth Suicide Prevention Intervention in a Native American Community. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(1), 12-23. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-013-9809-z
The present study is a feasibility study, aimed at investigating whether a mindfulness-based prevention intervention can be translated and implemented in a Native American youth population. Guided by the adaptation process model, a mindfulness youth suicide prevention intervention was developed and implemented in a Native American school. One group of eight youth, ages 15-20, participated in a 9-week pilot of the intervention. Results of the mixed-methods process and outcome evaluation suggest that the intervention is acceptable to Native American youth, with positive indications in terms of better self-regulation, less mind wandering, and decreased suicidal thoughts.
Lu, R., et al. (2019). The effects of mindfulness training on suicide ideation among left- behind children in China: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Child: Care, Health and Development, 45(3), 371-379. https://doi.org/10.1111/cch.12650
The population of left-behind children is growing rapidly in China in recent years. Without parents' company, left-behind children may develop severe emotional problems, which can trigger extreme behaviors such as self-harm and suicide. Previous literature suggests that mindfulness-based intervention could effectively alleviate a variety of sufferings such as anxiety and suicide ideation. The current study sought to examine the effectiveness of mindfulness-based intervention on suicide ideation among left-behind children in China. The findings from this study support that the use of mindfulness-based intervention can effectively reduce the suicide ideation and social anxiety of left-behind children in China.
Raj, S., et al. (2019). Effectiveness of mindfulness based cognitive behavior therapy on life satisfaction, and life orientation of adolescents with depression and suicidal ideation. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 39, 58-62. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajp.2018.12.001
Suicide and depression are among the most alarming phenomena prevalent throughout the world. Various approaches have tried to explain the intricacies in depression and suicide, as a consequence of faulty psychological adjustment of the individual. Mindfulness-based approaches to cognitive behavioral therapy have further accelerated the well-being of such individuals. This study was conducted with an aim to see the effect of mindfulness-based cognitive behavior therapy on life satisfaction and life orientation in adolescents with depression and suicidal behavior. The analysis of pre and post tests revealed a significant enhancement in life satisfaction, life orientation, and family functioning as well as a reduction in depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation. It is concluded that mindfulness-based cognitive behavior therapy serves as an effective medium to enhance the psychological functioning of depressive and suicidal adolescents.
Tucker, R. et al., (2014). Mindfulness tempers the impact of personality on suicidal ideation. Personality and Individual Differences, 68, 229-233. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2014.05.001
The Five Factor Model (FFM) domains of neuroticism and extraversion have consistently been related to suicidal ideation, such that individuals high in neuroticism or low in extraversion are at greater risk for suicidal thinking. Mindfulness has been shown to moderate the relationship between neuroticism and depression. The current study examined the relationship of the FFM domains, mindfulness, and suicidal ideation, and tested whether mindfulness would moderate the relationship between FFM domains and suicidal thinking. Results indicated that mindfulness weakened the relationship between neuroticism and suicidal ideation. The possible importance of incorporating mindfulness practices in the prevention of suicidal thinking is discussed.
Abenavoli, R. M., Jennings, P. A., Greenberg, M. T., Harris, A. R., Katz, D. A. (2013). The protective effects of mindfulness against burnout among educators. The Psychology of Education Review, 37(2), 57-69. https://shop.bps.org.uk/the-psychology-of-education-review-vol-37-no-2-autumn-2013
Educators are faced with the difficult task of meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of diverse learners in their classrooms - a task of even greater difficulty in the present context of high-stakes testing and accountability in the US. This requires high levels of psychological resources, which makes teaching a particularly demanding profession. In the US, about 51% of educators report experiencing excessive stress several days per week and nearly 40% leave the profession within their first five years of teaching. The authors evaluate how mindfulness training offers potential as a protective measure against the burnout risks inherent in this challenging profession.
Alajmi, M. A. A. (2021). The impact of using mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention for reducing teacher burnout and enhancing self-efficacy of teachers of autism syndrome disorder (ASD). Psychology and Education, 58(2), 3848-3859. https://doi.org/10.17762/pae.v58i2.2650
This study evaluated the impact of the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program on 32 teachers. Results of the study revealed statistically significant positive differences of the MBSR participant group which indicated that the MBSR intervention was effective in alleviating teachers' burnout and enhancing their self-efficacy. Based on the study results, the authors recommend that mindfulness strategies should be used to alleviate anxiety, depression, stress, and burnout teachers experience due to their jobs.
de Carvalho, J.S., Oliveira, S., Roberto, M.S. et al. (2021) Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Teachers: a Study on Teacher and Student Outcomes. Mindfulness 12, 1719-1732. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01635-3
Teacher wellbeing has become critically deficient, resulting in teachers leaving the field and reporting higher rates of burnout, stress, anxiety and other emotional distress. Students are also feeling the effects of educator burnout. Research has suggested that teacher's feelings of stress and burnout are negatively associated with student emotional wellbeing and academic achievement. This randomized trial evaluated the impact on teachers and their students of a 10-week mindfulness training program delivered only to the teachers. Teachers who received the training showed significant increases in mindfulness and emotional regulation competencies, self-efficacy, and well-being and a decrease in burnout symptoms. Similarly, a significant improvement was found in teachers' classroom behaviors related to students' engagement. Significant improvements were also found in students' perceptions of the quality of their teachers' involvement in classroom relationships, self-reported effect, and social competencies perceived by their parents. Both students and their teachers benefitted from teachers learning mindfulness.
Fabbro A, Fabbro F, Capurso V, D'Antoni F, Crescentini C. (2020). Effects of Mindfulness Training on School Teachers' Self-Reported Personality Traits As Well As Stress and Burnout Levels. Perceptual and Motor Skills;127(3):515-532. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0031512520908708
Mindfulness-based interventions have shown promise in assisting a wide range of professionals with emotion management, improving health outcomes, and decreasing rates of stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout. Integrating methods to help support teachers' well-being as well as their teaching effectiveness is critical, especially after the pandemic. Fortunately, mindfulness has been shown to be a highly effective tool to enhance both. This small sample of female school teachers were assessed pre and post on dispositional mindfulness, personality styles, and their levels of stress and burnout. Following mindfulness meditation training, teachers showed higher trait mindfulness and conscientiousness and lower neuroticism and stress and burnout levels than teachers in the waiting-list control group.
Flook, L., Goldberg, S.B., Pinger, L., Bonus, K., & Davidson, R.J. "Mindfulness for teachers: A pilot study to assess effects on stress, burnout, and teaching efficacy." Corrigendum. (2013). Mind, Brain and Education 7(4), 256. https://doi.org/10.1111/mbe.12026
Results from a randomized controlled pilot trial of modified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course adapted for teachers showed significant reductions in psychological symptoms and burnout. Teachers demonstrated increases in self-compassion, improved performance on computer task of affective attentional bias. Further, observer-related classroom organization improved.
Hwang, Y., Goldstein, H., Medvedev, O.N. et al. (2019). Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Educators: Effects of a School-Based Cluster Randomized Controlled Study. Mindfulness 10, 1417-1436. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-019-01147-1
This randomized controlled study evaluated the impact of an 8-week teacher mindfulness training on both the teachers and their students. The results indicate that even without direct intervention with the students, their feeling of connectedness with their teachers was increased when their teachers received training. Teachers themselves experienced lower levels of perceived stress and sleep difficulty, and higher levels of mindfulness, self-compassion, and cognitive reappraisal in emotion regulation at immediate post-intervention.
Klingbeil, D.A., Renshaw, T.L. (2018). Mindfulness-based interventions for teachers: A meta-analysis of the emerging evidence base. School Psychology Quarterly, 33(4) 501-511. https://doi.org/10.1037/spq000029
Teachers report high levels of occupational stress, which is associated with teacher turnover and potential negative consequences for students. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) may improve the protective factors that buffer educators against occupational stress. This meta-analysis of 29 studies found evidence of significant positive effects on mindfulness as well as teacher well-being and psychopathology as a result of various mindfulness-based training programs.
Zarate, Kary & Maggin, Daniel & Passmore, Amanda. (2019). Meta-analysis of mindfulness training on teacher wellbeing. Psychology in the Schools. 56. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22308
Teachers have been reporting increased incidences of stress, depression, burnout, and anxiety resulting in overall poor mental health and wellbeing outcomes for years. Mindfulness-based interventions have emerged as a potential remedy to these negative outcomes. This meta-analysis investigated the effects of mindfulness-based interventions on educators in schools. 18 studies on over 1000 educators found that mindfulness produced significant positive effects across all domains of well-being: large increases in feelings of mindfulness, moderate decreases in stress and anxiety, and smaller reductions on feelings of depression and burnout.