MINDFULNESS RESEARCH: STUDIES, CLINICAL TRIALS, JOURNALS
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In the UK alone, Since 2005, 14 studies of programs that directly train students in mindfulness have collectively demonstrated a range of cognitive, social, and psychological benefits to both elementary (six studies) and high school (eight studies) students. These include improvements in working memory, attention, academic skills, social skills, emotional regulation, and self-esteem, as well as self-reported improvements in mood and decreases in anxiety, stress, and fatigue.
As of 2017, there are currently 14 studies published in peer reviewed journals of mindfulness with school staff. They include 5 RCTs, 7 control studies, 3 before and after, and one qualitative study. They mostly use self-report methodology, but increasingly include tests of real world performance.
The results to date in this emerging field suggest that mindfulness training is both feasible and beneficial for children across a wide range of ages and contexts. Secondary school students who followed an in-class mindfulness programme, reported reduced indications of depression, anxiety and stress up to six months later. Also, 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.
The research presented on this page is not exhaustive as we know there are 1000's more studies that have taken place, and more starting all the time. Please use the Contact tab at the top of the Home Page if you have any relevant research material which we can add to this page.
Mindfulness is a useful tool to cultivate teachers’ ‘habits of mind’ promoting their health, well-being and social and emotional competence (Roeser, Skinner, Beers, & Jennings, 2012). It has been linked to both emotional awareness and management and to social awareness and healthier relationships.
Studies carried out with classroom teachers have found that mindfulness training enhances self-awareness, positive affect and compassion, improves relationships and equanimity in charged emotional environments such as the classroom and reduces stress symptoms, negative affect, depression and anxiety (Burrows, 2011; Lantieri, Nagler Kyse, Harnett, & Malkmus, 2011; Jennings et al. 2012; Kemeny et al., 2012).
“Research shows that when teachers learn mindfulness, they not only reap personal benefits such as reduced stress and burnout, but their schools do well too. In randomized controlled trials, teachers who learned mindfulness reported greater efficacy in doing their jobs and had more emotionally supportive classrooms….”
In a review of mindfulness intervention studies with school teachers, Jennings et al. (2012) reported significant positive benefits both for the teachers’ classroom practice such as enhanced relationships with students and more effective classroom management, as well as improved sense of well-being and health. They concluded that mindfulness is a pathway towards the realisation of caring and effective teachers. (from Cefai & Cavioni, 2014)
Napoli, Krech & Holley (2005) reported the results of integrated mindfulness and relaxation work with 225 children with high anxiety, aged between 5 -‐ 8 taking part in the ‘Attention Academy Program’ in a school context. The intervention constituted 12 sessions of 45 minutes each. The children showed significant decreases in both test anxiety and ADHD behaviors and also an increase in the ability to pay attention. The study was reasonably strong methodologically, being a randomized control trial (RCT) with a large sample, and the use of objective measures of attention.
Lau and Hue (2011) carried out a pilot controlled trial assessing preliminary outcomes of a mindfulness-‐based programme in schools in Hong Kong for twenty four 14 to 16-‐ year-‐old adolescents with low academic performance from two secondary schools, with similar size control groups. There was a significant decrease in symptoms of depression and a significant increase in well-being among the young people who received the intervention.
Joyce et al (2010) report pre-‐ and post-‐group differences in children aged 10 to 13 years on measures of behaviour problems and depression. The 10 week program delivered by teachers lead to a significant reduction in self-‐reported behavioural problems and depression scores, particularly in pupils with clinically significant levels of problem before the intervention.
Hennelly (2011) looked at sixty eight adolescent students aged between 14 and 16 from typical, mixed-‐gender secondary schools who followed the full .b eight week course. There were significant differences between participant and control groups’ mindfulness, resilience and well-‐being, with longer term effects being even greater than immediate effects. Students, teachers and parents also reported subjective improvements in students’ motivation and confidence, competence and effectiveness.
Schonert-‐Reichl and Lawlor (2010) investigated a mindfulness-‐based program, delivered by teachers, involving 10 lessons and three times daily practice of mindfulness meditation. Overall, there was a significant increase in scores on self-‐report measures of optimism and positive emotions. Teacher reports showed an improvement in social and emotional competence for children in the intervention group, and a decrease in aggression and oppositional behaviour.
Liehr and Diaz (2010) carried out a small randomized trial comparing a mindfulness-‐based intervention with another approach. Eighteen minority and disadvantaged children recruited from a summer camp were randomly assigned to either a mindfulness-‐based intervention in which they went to ten 15 minute classes on mindful breathing and movement for two weeks, or to a heath education group, both interventions focusing on depression and anxiety. There was a significant reduction in depression symptoms for those in the mindfulness group and a reduction in anxiety for both groups, in the immediate post-‐ treatment follow up.
LINKS TO LATEST STUDIES
Mindfulness as an intervention to reduce stress in University students (meta-analysis)
How video games can help achieve mindfulness
Mindfulness training in primary school decreases negative affect and increases meta-cognition in children
Evidence of mindfulness in young people (Katherine Wear)
Evidence of Mindfulness for School Staff (Katherine Wear)
Mindfulness for Teachers: A pilot study to assess effects on stress,burnout and teaching
Taking Care of Teacher
NCB Framework for promoting well-being and responding to mental health in schools
Lessons in mindfulness - Benefit to Teachers and Pupils
Benefits of an emotionally healthy school
Evidence and Potential Mechanisms for Mindfulness Practices & EP for Obesity and Binge-Eating Disorder
Mindfulness at School reduces (likelihood) of depression-related symptoms in adolescents
Mindful EP: The Reciprocal Synergy of Integrating Mindfulness and EP
The American Mindfulness Research Association
Meditation Research UK (privately funded)
Adolescents with Aspergers can use a Mindfulness based strategy to control aggressive behaviour
Brainwave evidence hints at benefits of mindfulness in school
An Exploratory Study of the Effects of Mindfulness among school-children from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
How does mindfulness modulate self-regulation in pre-adolescent children?
A systematic review on the evidence regarding the effects of school-based mindfulness interventions.
Mindfulness in Schools Research Hub
Children with ADHD
The Effectiveness of Mindfulness Training for Children with ADHD and Mindful Parenting for their Parents.
Mindfulness Training for ADHD: A promising and innovative treatment