Advertisement

Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 12, pp 3935–3951 | Cite as

Exploring experiences of children in applying a school-based mindfulness programme to their lives

  • Julia K. HutchinsonEmail author
  • Jaci C. Huws
  • Dusana Dorjee
Original Paper
  • 489 Downloads

Abstract

Evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions for children and young people’s well-being is growing, particularly within educational settings. To date, very few studies have explored how children experience and apply mindfulness. This qualitative study investigated how children who received long-term mindfulness training applied mindfulness to their everyday lives. Year 6 Children (average age 11) were interviewed in three focus groups with their peers, in a semi-structured format, and the data was analysed using an inductive thematic analysis. The findings indicated that the children described mindfulness as assisting with their emotion regulation. Four themes were identified: (1) processes of emotion regulation (2) dysregulation prompt to apply mindfulness (3) challenges and strategies and (4) the conditions that support or hinder mindfulness use. These findings are discussed in the context of theories and evidence on emotion regulation, attachment, and mechanisms of mindfulness. Implications of these findings for future research of meditation-based approaches in schools, for example, self-compassion and kindness practices, are considered.

Keywords

Mindfulness Children School-based Emotion regulation Thematic analysis 

Notes

Author Contributions

J.K.H.: designed and executed the study, analysed the data and wrote the paper. J.C.H.: collaborated with the design of the study and analysis of the data, and edited the manuscript. D.D.: collaborated with the design of the study and the analysis of the data and collaborated in the writing and editing of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

J.K.H. teaches the Paws b curriculum on occasion and is renumerated for this work as part of her duties of employment. J.C.H. declares she has no conflict of interest. D.D. provided initial advice on inclusion of neuroscience content into the Paws b curriculum without renumeration, does not hold any IP for the Paws b curriculum and does not have any financial interests in the Paws b curriculum; she is not affiliated with the Mindfulness in Schools Project providing training in the Paws b curriculum. D.D. has been collaborating with Sarah Silverton and Tabitha Sawyer, the two main authors of the Paws b who are not receiving royalties from the Paws b curriculum, and Ysgol Pen Y Bryn where the Paws b curriculum was developed (also with no financial interests) on the development of another primary school curriculum (The Present Course for Primary Schools) and is a co-director of a community interest company providing training in the Present Course.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors. Ethical approval was provided by the School of Psychology at Bangor University. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Participation in this research was entirely voluntary and required both parents informed consent and children’s informed assent.

Supplementary material

10826_2018_1221_MOESM1_ESM.docx (202 kb)
Appendix A

References

  1. Ager, K., Albrecht, N. J., & Cohen, M. (2015). Mindfulness in schools research project: Exploring students’ perspectives of mindfulness. Psychology, 6, 896–914.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bennett, K., & Dorjee, D. (2015). The impact of a mindfulness-based stress reduction course (MBSR) on wellbeing and academic attainment of sixth-form students. Mindfulness, 7(1), 105–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2012). Thematic analysis. In H. Cooper, P. M. Camic, D. L. Long, A. T. Panter, D. Rindskopf & K. J. Sher (Eds.), APA handbook of research methods in psychology, Vol. 2: Research designs: Quantitative, qualitative, neuropsychological, and biological (pp. 57–71). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burke, C. A. (2010). Mindfulness-based approaches with children and adolescents: A preliminary review of current research in an emergent field. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19(2), 133–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carmody, J., & Baer, R. A. (2008). Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 31(1), 23–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carsley, D., Khoury, B., & Heath, N. L. (2018). Effectiveness of mindfulness interventions for mental health in schools: A comprehensive meta-analysis. Mindfulness, 9(3), 693–707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clarke, V., & Braun, V. (2014). Thematic analysis. In A. C. Michalos (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of quality of life and well-being research (pp. 6626–6628). Springer, Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Coholic, D. (2011). Exploring the feasibility and benefits of arts-based Mindfulness-based practices with your people in need: Aiming to improve aspects of self-awareness and resilience. Child Youth Care Forum, 40, 303–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Coholic, D. A., & Eys, M. (2016). Benefits of an arts-based mindfulness group intervention for vulnerable children. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 33(1), 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Crane, C., Crane, R. S., Eames, C., Fennell, M. J., Silverton, S., Williams, J. M. G., & Barnhofer, T. (2014). The effects of amount of home meditation practice in mindfulness based cognitive therapy on hazard of relapse to depression in the staying well after depression trial. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 63, 17–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dunn, J. (2004). Children’s friendships: The beginnings of intimacy. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  13. Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta‐analysis of school‐based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Elliott, I. M., Lach, L., & Smith, M. L. (2005). I just want to be normal: A qualitative study exploring how children and adolescents view the impact of intractable epilepsy on their quality of life. Epilepsy & Behavior, 7(4), 664–678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Eberth, J., & Sedlmeier, P. (2012). The effects of mindfulness meditation: A meta-analysis. Mindfulness, 3, 174–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Etty-Leal, J. C., & Judge, A. (2010). Meditation capsules: A mindfulness program for children. Victoria, Australia: Meditation Capsules.Google Scholar
  17. Felver, J., Hoyos, C., Tezanos, K., & Singh, N. (2016). A systematic review of mindfulness-based interventions for youth in school settings. Mindfulness, 7(1), 34–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fresco, D. M., Segal, Z. V., Buis, T., & Kennedy, S. (2007). Relationship of posttreatment decentering and cognitive reactivity to relapse in major depression. Journal of consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75(3), 447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Garland, E. L., Farb, N. A., R. Goldin, P., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2015). Mindfulness broadens awareness and builds eudaimonic meaning: A process model of mindful positive emotion regulation. Psychological Inquiry, 26(4), 293–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gardner, H., & Randall, D. (2012). The effects of the presence or absence of parents on interviews with children. Nurse Researcher, 19, 6–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gouda, S., Luong, M. T., Schmidt, S., & Bauer, J. (2016). Students and teachers benefit from mindfulness-based stress reduction in a school-embedded pilot study. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 590  https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00590.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Greenberg, M. T., & Harris, A. R. (2012). Nurturing mindfulness in children and youth: Current state of research. Child Development Perspectives, 6(2), 161–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Harnett, P. H., & Dawe, S. (2012). The contribution of mindfulness-based therapies for children and families and proposed conceptual integration. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 17(4), 195–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K., & Wilson, K. G. (1999). Acceptance and commitment therapy: An experiential approach to behaviour change. New York, NY: Guilford.Google Scholar
  25. Hill, M., Laybourn, A., & Borland, M. (1996). Engaging with primary‐aged children about their emotions and well‐being: Methodological considerations. Children & Society, 10(2), 129–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hoge, E. A., Bui, E., Goetter, E., Robinaugh, D. J., Ojserkis, R. A., Fresco, D. M., & Simon, N. M. (2015). Change in decentering mediates improvement in anxiety in mindfulness-based stress reduction for generalized anxiety disorder. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 39(2), 228–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Huppert, F. A., & Johnson, D. M. (2010). A controlled trial of mindfulness training in schools: The importance of practice for an impact on well-being. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(4), 264–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York, NY: Bantom Dell.Google Scholar
  29. Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), p144–156.Google Scholar
  30. Kabat-Zinn, J. (2005). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness (15th anniversary edn.). New York, NY: Delta Trade Paperback/Bantam Dell.Google Scholar
  31. Kallapiran, K., Koo, S., Kirubakaran, R., & Hancock, K. (2015). Review: Effectiveness of mindfulness in improving mental health symptoms of children and adolescents: A meta‐analysis. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 20(4), 182–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kang, Y., Rahrig, H., Eichel, K., Niles, H. F., Rocha, T., Lepp, N. E., & Britton, W. B. (2018). Gender differences in response to a school-based mindfulness training intervention for early adolescents. Journal of School Psychology, 68, 163–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kaunhoven, T. J., & Dorjee, D. (2017). How does mindfulness modulate self-regulation in pre-adolescent children? An integrative neurocognitive review. Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews, 74(A), 163–184.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.01.007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Keenan, T., & Evans, S. (2009). An Introduction to Child Development. 2nd Edn. Los Angeles: Sage.Google Scholar
  35. Kellett, M., & Ding, S. (2004). Middle childhood. In S. Fraser, V. Lewis, S. Ding, M. Kellett & C. Robinson (Eds.), Doing research with children and young people (pp. 161–174). London: OUP.Google Scholar
  36. Keng, S. L., Smoski, M. J., & Robins, C. J. (2011). Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: A review of empirical studies. Clinical Psychology Review, 31(6), 1041–1056.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Khoury, B., Lecomte, T., Fortin, G., Masse, M., Therien, P., Bouchard, V., & Hofmann, S. G. (2013). Mindfulness-based therapy: A comprehensive meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 33(6), 763–771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Klingbeil, D. A., Renshaw, T. L., Willenbrink, J. B., Copek, R. A., Chan, K. T., Haddock, A., & Clifton, J. (2017). Mindfulness-based interventions with youth: A comprehensive meta-analysis of group-design studies. Journal of School Psychology, 63, 77–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kuyken, W., Byford, S., Taylor, R. S., Watkins, E., Holden, E., White, K., & Teasdale, J. D. (2008). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to prevent relapse in recurrent depression. Journal of consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76(6), 966.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Malpass, A., Carel, H., Ridd, M., Shaw, A., Kessler, D., Sharp, D., & Wallond, J. (2012). Transforming the perceptual situation: A meta-ethnography of qualitative work reporting patients’ experiences of mindfulness-based approaches. Mindfulness, 3(1), 60–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McCown, D., Reibel, D., & Micozzi, M. S. (2011). Teaching mindfulness: A practical guide for clinicians and educators. New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
  42. McCrone, P., Dhanasiri, S., Patel, A., Knapp, M., & Lawton-Smith, S. (2008). Paying the price: The cost of mental health care in England to 2026. London: King’s Fund.Google Scholar
  43. Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group. (2015). Mindful nation UK. London: The Mindfulness Initiative.Google Scholar
  44. Mindfulness in Schools Project. (2014). Paws b. UK: MiSP.Google Scholar
  45. Moffitt, T. E., Arseneault, L., Belsky, D., Dickson, N., Hancox, R. J., Harrington, H., & Sears, M. R. (2011). A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(7), 2693–2698.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Music, G. (2016) Attachment and mindfulness. Paper presented at the mindfulness conference, CMRP, Bangor, UK.Google Scholar
  47. Music, G. (2011). Nurturing natures: attachment and children’s emotional, sociocultural and brain development. Hove: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  48. Neff, K. D., & Germer, C. K. (2013). A pilot study and randomized controlled trial of the mindful self‐compassion program. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(1), 28–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. O’Reilly, M., & Parker, N. (2014). Doing mental health research with children and adolescents: A guide to qualitative methods. London: SAGE.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Powell, R. A., & Single, H. M. (1996). Focus groups. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 8(5), 499–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Public Health England. (2014). The link between pupil health and wellbeing and attainment: A briefing for head teachers, governors and staff in education settings. London: PHE.Google Scholar
  52. Sanger, K. L., & Dorjee, D. (2015). Mindfulness training for adolescents: A neurodevelopmental perspective on investigating modifications in attention and emotion regulation using event-related brain potentials. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 15(3), 696–711.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sanger, K. L., & Dorjee, D. (2016). Mindfulness training with adolescents enhances metacognition and the inhibition of irrelevant stimuli: Evidence from event-related brain potentials. Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 5(1), 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G., & Teasdale, J. D. (2013). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression. 2nd edn. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  55. Semple, R. J., & Lee, J. (2011). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for anxious children. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.Google Scholar
  56. Shapiro, D. H. (1992). A preliminary study of long term meditators: Goals, effects, religious orientation, cognitions. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 24(1), 23–39.Google Scholar
  57. Shapiro, S. L., Astin, J. A., Bishop, S. R., & Cordova, M. (2005). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for health care professionals: results from a randomized trial. International Journal of Stress Management, 12(2), 164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Shapiro, S. L., Carlson, L. E., Astin, J. A., & Freedman, B. (2006). Mechanisms of mindfulness. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62(3), 373–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Siegel, D. J. (2007). The mindful brain: Reflection and attunement in the cultivation of well-being. New York, NY: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  60. Singh, I., & Keenan, S. (2010). The challenges and opportunities of qualitative health research with children. In I. Bourgeault, R. Dingwall & R. De Vries (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Methods in Health Research. Los Angeles: SAGE.Google Scholar
  61. Snyder, R., Shapiro, S., & Treleaven, D. (2012). Attachment theory and mindfulness. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21(5), 709–717.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Suhrcke, M., & de Paz Nieves, C. (2011). The impact of health and health behaviours on educational outcomes in high-income countries: a review of the evidence. Copenhagen, Denmark: World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe.Google Scholar
  63. Teasdale, J. D., Segal, Z., & Williams, J. M. G. (1995). How does cognitive therapy prevent depressive relapse and why should attentional control (mindfulness) training help? Behaviour Research and Therapy, 33(1), 25–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Teasdale, J. D. (1999). Metacognition, mindfulness and the modification of mood disorders. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 6(2), 146–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Teasdale, J., & Chaskalson, M. (2011). How does mindfulness transform suffering? II: The transformation of dukkha. Contemporary Buddhism, 12(1), 103–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Thomas, G., & Atkinson, C. (2017). Perspectives on a whole class mindfulness programme. Educational Psychology in Practice, 33(3), 231–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Vettese, L. C., Toneatto, T., Stea, J., Nguyen, L., & Wang, J. J. (2009). Do mindfulness meditation participants do their homework? And does it make a difference? A review of the empirical evidence. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly, 23, 198–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Weare, K. (2013). Developing mindfulness with children and young people: A review of the evidence and policy context. Journal of Children’s Services, 8(2), 141–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Weare, K. (2015). What works in promoting social and emotional well-being and responding to mental health problems in schools?. London: National Children’s Bureau.Google Scholar
  70. Williams, K. A., Kolar, M. M., Reger, B. E., & Pearson, J. C. (2001). Evaluation of a wellness-based mindfulness stress reduction intervention: A controlled trial. American Journal of Health Promotion, 15(6), 422–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Zenner, C., Herrnleben-Kurz, S., & Walach, H. (2014). Mindfulness-based interventions in schools-a systematic review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 603.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Zisook, S., Lesser, I., Stewart, J. W., Wisniewski, S. R., Balasubramani, G. K., Fava, M., & Rush, A. J. (2007). Effect of age at onset on the course of major depressive disorder. AJP, 164(10), 1539–1546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Zoogman, S., Goldberg, S. B., Hoyt, W. T., & Miller, L. (2015). Mindfulness interventions with youth: A meta-analysis. Mindfulness, 6(2), 290–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia K. Hutchinson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jaci C. Huws
    • 2
  • Dusana Dorjee
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyPrifysgol Bangor UniversityBangorUK
  2. 2.School of Healthcare SciencesPrifysgol Bangor UniversityBangorUK

Personalised recommendations