Research/Evidence on Mindfulness for Young People in general

Developing mindfulness with children and young people: a review of the evidence and policy context

Exploring the growing field of the teaching of mindfulness to young people, looking at its social and policy context, its applications, and other areas of work which it might support and within which it might fit. It focuses particularly on the state of the current evidence for such teaching and the conclusions that can be drawn from it.

To view the full study, please click here.

Mindfulness at school reduces (likelihood of) depression-related symptoms in adolescents

Secondary school students who follow an in-class mindfulness programme report reduced indications of depression, anxiety and stress up to six months later. Moreover, these students were less likely to develop pronounced depression-like symptoms. The study, conducted by Professor Filip Raes (Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven), is the first to examine mindfulness in a large sample of adolescents in a school-based setting.

To view the full study, please click here.

Mindfulness-based interventions in schools—a systematic review and meta-analysis

Mindfulness programs for schools are popular. We systematically reviewed the evidence regarding the effects of school-based mindfulness interventions on psychological outcomes, using a comprehensive search strategy designed to locate both published and unpublished studies. Systematic searches in 12 databases were performed in August 2012. Further studies were identified via hand search and contact with experts. Two reviewers independently extracted the data, also selecting information about intervention programs (elements, structure etc.), feasibility, and acceptance.

To view the full study, please click here.

Bangor University Mindful Brain Laboratory

Our research investigates modifications in cognition and neural plasticity associated with mindfulness in relation to well-being across the life-span. Our aim is both to understand neurocognitive mechanisms of mindfulness in children, adolescents, adults and in aging, and to evaluate mindfulness training in settings such as education.

We are committed to combining rigor in research with real world impact through close collaboration with school teachers, mindfulness trainers, charities and policy makers. Our research in schools aims to contribute to development of an evidence-based strategy for implementation of mindfulness in schools. The studies we conduct use a range of neuroscientific methods with primary focus on converging evidence from event-related brain potentials, reaction time measures and self-report questionnaires.”

To visit the Bangor University Mindful Brain Laboratory click here.

University of Leeds Mindfulness in Schools Resource Hub

Research on Mindfulness in Schools through a 12 month knowledge exchange project, running from April 2013-2014, was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Including:

  • Links to presentations delivered at the Mindfulness: how it can help to improve emotional wellbeing in Leeds school event, hosted by the University on 17 January 2014
  • Resources including meditations that can be downloaded for use when working with young people
  • Policy and media coverage linked to mindfulness and its application in schools

To view the Mindfulness in Schools Resource Hub research page click here.

The Effectiveness of Mindfulness Training for Children with ADHD and Mindful Parenting for their Parents

This study evaluated the effectiveness of an 8-week mindfulness training for children aged 8–12 with ADHD and parallel mindful parenting training for their parents. Parents (N = 22) completed questionnaires on their child’s ADHD and ODD symptoms, their own ADHD symptoms, parenting stress, parental overreactivity, permissiveness and mindful awareness before, immediately after the 8-week training and at 8-week follow-up. To read the full study, please click here.

Mindfulness for Children and Youth: A Review of the Literature with an Argument for School-Based Implementation

Interest in the use of mindfulness-based activities with children and youth is growing. The article evaluates empirical evidence related to the use of mindfulness-based activities to facilitate enhanced student learning and to support students’ psychological, physiological, and social development. It also provides an overview of interventions that include mindfulness. There is a need to provide children with a way to combat the stress and pressure of living in today’s highly charged world: mindfulness may be one helpful alternative. The implications of a universal school-based mindfulness intervention are discussed, and directions for future research are offered.

To read the full study, please click here.

Mindfulness Interventions with Youth: A Meta-Analysis

This study marks the first published meta-analysis of the burgeoning literature on mindfulness meditation with youth (conducted between 2004 and 2011) and identifies specific outcomes and sub-populations for whom mindfulness may be particularly helpful. Inclusion criteria were peer-reviewed journal articles published in English, study participants under 18 years of age, and a description in the methods section of mindfulness as the chief component of an intervention.

To read the full study, please click here.

Review of Studies, Journal of Children’s Services 2013

Developing mindfulness with children and young people: a review of the evidence and policy context. Authored by Katherine Weare, Emeritus Professor at the University of Exeter and Southampton, where she is working to develop and evaluate mindfulness in schools and encourage programmes to work together effectively and use the principles of ‘what works’. The Editorial Team of the Journal of Children’s Services recently selected Professor Weare’s review as the Outstanding Paper of 2013.

Download the pdf here.

Evidence for the Impact for Mindfulness on Children and Young People 2012

Amongst adults there is reasonably strong evidence for the positive impact of mindfulness on a wide range of mental and physical health conditions, on social and emotional skills and wellbeing, and on learning and cognition. There is also good evidence from neuroscience and brain imaging that mindfulness meditation reliably and profoundly alters the structure and function of the brain to improve the quality of both thought and feeling.

Research with children and young people is not yet as extensive as with adults, and the studies carried out so far have some methodological limitations, most notably small numbers, and limited use of control groups or randomisation. Conclusions must therefore be tentative. Nevertheless, work is growing rapidly and the results are promising which suggests that mindfulness in schools is well worth doing.

Click here to read Professor Katherine Weare’s summary of more than 20 research papers on the effects of mindfulness on children and young people.

Research on how video games can be used to improve wellbeing

We Are What We Do has just released a new paper on mental health and how video games can be used to improve wellbeing. The paper was created in consultation with video games expert Tom Chatfield, as part of a research and development project and we’ll be using these insights to inform some further observational research and ultimately, the development of a new game using biofeedback to improve wellbeing. It draws on the research paper co-authored by Richard Burnett and Chris Cullen, Effectiveness of the Mindfulness in Schools Programme: Non-randomised controlled feasibility study.

Please click here to download the document.

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