, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 137–151 | Cite as

The Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Education Program on Pre- and Early Adolescents’ Well-Being and Social and Emotional Competence

  • Kimberly A. Schonert-ReichlEmail author
  • Molly Stewart Lawlor
Original Paper


We report the results of a quasi-experimental study evaluating the effectiveness of the Mindfulness Education (ME) program. ME is a theoretically derived, teacher-taught universal preventive intervention that focuses on facilitating the development of social and emotional competence and positive emotions, and has as its cornerstone daily lessons in which students engage in mindful attention training (three times a day). Pre- and early adolescent students in the 4th to 7th grades (N = 246) drawn from six ME program classrooms and six comparison classrooms (wait-list controls) completed pretest and posttest self-report measures assessing optimism, general and school self-concept, and positive and negative affect. Teachers rated pre- and early adolescents on dimensions of classroom social and emotional competence. Results revealed that pre- and early adolescents who participated in the ME program, compared to those who did not, showed significant increases in optimism from pretest to posttest. Similarly, improvements on dimensions of teacher-rated classroom social competent behaviors were found favoring ME program students. Program effects also were found for self-concept, although the ME program demonstrated more positive benefits for preadolescents than for early adolescents. Teacher reports of implementation fidelity and dosage for the mindfulness activities were high and teachers reported that they were easily able to integrate the mindful attention exercises within their classrooms. Theoretical issues linking mindful attention awareness to social and emotional competence and implications for the development of school-based interventions are discussed.


Mindfulness Adolescents Prevention Optimism Social competence 



This research was supported by grants from the Hawn Foundation and the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) at the University of British Columbia to the first author. Special appreciation is expressed to Lisa Pedrini at the Vancouver School Board, to Nancy Fischer for her involvement in creating the ME program lessons, to Sula Boxall, Angela Jaramillo, and Caro Rolando for their assistance with data collection, and to the students and their teachers who made this study possible.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kimberly A. Schonert-Reichl
    • 1
    Email author
  • Molly Stewart Lawlor
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, and Special EducationUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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