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Mindfulness

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 151–164 | Cite as

Evaluation of a Mindfulness-based Intervention for Adolescents with Learning Disabilities and Co-occurring ADHD and Anxiety

  • Jillian Haydicky
  • Judith Wiener
  • Paul Badali
  • Karen Milligan
  • Joseph M. Ducharme
Original Paper

Abstract

The current study evaluated the impact of a 20-week mindfulness training program on executive function (EF), internalizing and externalizing behavior and social skills in a clinical sample of adolescent boys with learning disabilities (LD). Integra Mindfulness Martial Arts (MMA) is a manualized group treatment program incorporating elements of mindfulness meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), behavior modification and mixed martial arts. Adolescents (ages 12–18; n = 60) with LD were assigned to the MMA or wait list control group (WL). Adolescents and their parents completed standardized questionnaires before and after training. Subgroup analyses were conducted to investigate the impact of the intervention on youth with co-occurring attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or anxiety. Compared to the WL group, MMA participants with co-occurring ADHD (14 MMA, 14 WL) improved on parent-rated externalizing behavior, oppositional defiant problems and conduct problems. Boys with elevated hyperactive/impulsive symptoms (12 MMA, 17 WL) improved on parent-rated social problems and monitoring skills. Boys with elevated inattentive symptoms (15 MMA, 18 WL) improved on parent-rated social problems. Boys with elevated anxiety (12 MMA, 17 WL) reported decreased anxiety. MMA shows promise as an alternative treatment option for youth with LD and co-occurring difficulties.

Keywords

Mindfulness MBCT Learning disability Attention Anxiety Adolescent 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The authors appreciate the contributions to this study from Integra clients and their parents and several current and previous Integra staff including Margaret Amerongen, Richard Cummings, Leslie Daniels, Michael Faye, David Jan Jurasek, Alisa Kenny Bridgman and Marjory Phillips.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jillian Haydicky
    • 1
  • Judith Wiener
    • 1
  • Paul Badali
    • 2
  • Karen Milligan
    • 2
  • Joseph M. Ducharme
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Applied PsychologyOntario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Integra FoundationTorontoCanada

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