The Effectiveness of a School-Based Mindfulness Training as a Program to Prevent Stress in Elementary School Children
- 4.2k Downloads
Studies on the effects of mindfulness interventions on mental health and behavioral problems in children show promising results, but are primarily conducted with selected samples of children. The few studies investigating school-based interventions used self-selected samples, provided training outside of the classroom, and did not report longer-term effects. The immediate and longer-term effects of a class-based mindfulness intervention for elementary school children were investigated as a primary prevention program (MindfulKids) to reduce stress and stress-related mental health and behavioral problems. Children (8–12 years) from three elementary schools participated. Classes were randomized to an immediate-intervention group (N = 95) or a waitlist-control group (N = 104), which received the intervention after a waitlist period. Twelve 30-min sessions were delivered in 6 weeks. At baseline, pretest, posttest, and follow-up, variables indicative of stress and metal well-being were assessed with children, variables indicative of mental health problems were assessed with parents, and teachers reported on class climate. Multilevel analysis revealed that there were no significant changes from baseline to pretest. Some primary prevention effects on stress and well-being were found directly after training and some became more apparent at follow-up. Effects on mental health problems also became apparent at follow-up. MindfulKids seems to have a primary preventive effect on stress, well-being, and behavior in schoolchildren, as reported by children and parents. Exploratory analysis revealed that children who ruminate more are affected differently by the intervention than children who ruminate less. It is concluded that mindfulness training can be incorporated in elementary schools at the class level, letting all children benefit from the intervention.
KeywordsMindfulness Attention training Elementary school Children Stress
This study was funded by Stichting Fonds voor het Hart, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. We would like to thank Maarten Willem Rijksen and Anne Pranger for their efforts in the collection of data for this study.
- Bear, R. A. (2003). Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: A conceptual and empirical view. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10, 125–143.Google Scholar
- Biegel, G., & Brown, K. W. (2010). Assessing the efficacy of an adapted in-class mindfulness-based training program for school-age children: A pilot study. Mindful Schools. Retrieved April 25, 2010, from http://www.mindfulschools.org/pdf/Mindful%2020Schools%2020Pilot%2020Study%2020Whitepaper.pdf.
- Bruni, O., Ottaviano, S., Guidetti, V., Romoli, M., Innocenzi, M., Cortesi, F., et al. (1996). The Sleep Disturbance Scale for Children (SDSC). Construction and validation of an instrument to evaluate sleep disturbances in childhood and adolescence. Journal of Sleep Research, 5, 251–261.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Jellesma, F., Meerum Terwogt, M., & Rieffe, C. (2006). De Nederlandstalige Sense of Coherence vragenlijst voor kinderen. Gedrag & Gezondheid, 34, 18–26.Google Scholar
- Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York: Dell.Google Scholar
- Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10, 144–156.Google Scholar
- Lickona, D., & Davidson, M. (2003). School as a caring community profile-II. Unpublished manuscript, Center for the 4th and 5th Rs, Cortland.Google Scholar
- Merry, S. N., McDowell, H. H., Hetrick, S. E., Bir, J. J., & Muller, N. (2009). Psychological and/or educational interventions for the prevention of depression in children and adolescents. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2004, Issue 2, Art. No. CD003380. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003380.pub2
- Saltzman, A., Park, M., & Goldin, P. (2008). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for school-age children. In L. A. Greco & S. C. Hayes (Eds.), Acceptance and mindfulness treatments for children and adolescents (pp. 139–161). Oakland: New Harbinger.Google Scholar
- Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G., & Teasdale, J. D. (Eds.). (2002). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: A new approach to preventing relapse. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Stice, E., Shaw, H., Bohon, C., Marti, C. N., & Rohde, P. (2009). A meta-analytic review of depression prevention programs for children and adolescents: Factors that predict magnitude of intervention effects. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77(3), 486–503.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- van de Weijer-Bergsma, E., Formsma, A. R., de Bruin, E. I., & Bögels, S. M. (2011). The effectiveness of mindfulness on behavioral problems and attentional functioning in adolescents with ADHD. Journal of Child and Family Studies. doi: 10.1007/s10826-011-9531-7.
- Verhoeven, S. H., Winter, M., & Hox, J. (2007). Klasklimaatvragenlijst voor leerkrachten [Class-climate questionnaire for teachers]. Utrecht: Utrecht University, Langeveld Institute.Google Scholar