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Title: Mindfulness with children and adolescents : current research and future directions
Author: Holland, Verity
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2012
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Mindfulness, “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment and non judgementally to the unfolding of experience” (Kabat-Zinn, 2003; p.145) is associated with improved well-being, cognitive functioning and distress in a range of chronic disorders in adults and is additionally becoming more prevalent in the treatment of a number of clinical difficulties in young people, such as anxiety and ADHD. Evidence suggests mindfulness may promote young people’s social and emotional functioning and academic performance. This has led to a growing interest in teaching mindfulness in schools to children and adolescents who do not have clinical diagnoses, where it is possible to use mindfulness in a universal, proactive way, to increase well-being and resilience in the face of potential challenges, rather than having a reactive focus on the alleviation of symptoms and problem behaviours. As with any emerging intervention, examining whether it works must be considered alongside the question of why it works. Focusing on mindfulness training delivered in schools, this paper updates a preliminary review (Burke, 2010) examining the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions delivered to children and adolescents, and provides an initial exploration of the possible underlying mechanisms of change facilitated by mindfulness in young people (e.g. relaxation, metacognitive awareness). There is increasing evidence to suggest that mindfulness training has a positive impact on a range of outcomes, however methodological issues remain and outcomes are less well established for some young people, for example adolescents in typical secondary settings. The review is therefore followed by a study that aimed to evaluate the effects of the ‘.b’ (Stop-Breathe-Be) mindfulness course on early adolescents’ well-being and academic functioning. 120 11 to 12 year olds from a mainstream secondary school took part in the intervention or control groups. Following the eight-week ‘.b’ course, as hypothesised, participants in the intervention group (N=72) demonstrated increased resilience and improved experience of stress, as well as improved inattentive behaviour (as rated by teachers) compared to passive control group participants (N=48). There were no significant differences between groups on measures of mindfulness, aggressive behaviour or academic achievement. Implications for teaching mindfulness in schools are discussed.
Supervisor: Maguire, Nicholas Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology