Effectiveness of Mindfulness Interventions for Mental Health in Schools: a Comprehensive Meta-analysis
- 2.9k Downloads
Mindfulness interventions have increasingly been incorporated in elementary and high school classrooms to support students’ mental health and well-being; however, there is little research examining the specific factors contributing to the effectiveness of the interventions. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to examine the specific effects of and moderators contributing to school-based mindfulness interventions for mental health in youth. A systematic review of studies published in PsycINFO, ERIC, Social Work Abstracts, Social Services Abstracts, and CINAHL was conducted. A total of 24 studies (n = 3977) were included in the meta-analysis. Overall, mindfulness interventions were found to be helpful, with small to moderate significant effects pre-post intervention compared to control groups (Hedges’ g = 0.24, p < .001); however, interventions that were delivered during late adolescence (15–18) and that consisted of combinations of various mindfulness activities had the largest effects on mental health and well-being outcomes. Furthermore, the effects on specific mindfulness and mental health outcomes differed according to whether the intervention was delivered by an outside facilitator compared to trained educators/teachers. These results suggest that individual differences and program characteristics can impact receptivity and effectiveness of mindfulness training. These findings represent a significant contribution as they can be used to inform future designs and applications of mindfulness interventions in the school setting.
KeywordsMindfulness Meta-analysis Mental health School Children Adolescents
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Ethical Approval/Informed Consent
For this type of study, formal consent is not required.
- American Mindfulness Research Association. (2010–2016). American Mindfulness Research Association: mindfulness research monthly, 1–7. Google Scholar
- Bernay, R., Graham, E., Devcich, D. A., Rix, G., & Rubie-Davies, C. M. (2016). Pause, breathe, smile: a mixed-methods study of student well-being following participation in an eight-week locally developed mindfulness program in three New Zealand schools. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 9(2), 90–106. https://doi.org/10.1080/1754530X.2016.1154474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Borenstein, M., Hedges, L., Higgins, J., & Rothstein, H. (2014). Comprehensive meta-analysis (version 3). Englewoord: Biostat.Google Scholar
- Britton, W. B., Lepp, N. E., Niles, H. F., Rocha, T., Fisher, N. E., & Gold, J. S. (2014). A randomized controlled pilot trial of classroom-based mindfulness meditation compared to an active control condition in sixth-grade children. Journal of School Psychology, 52, 263–278. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2014.03.002.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Carsley, D., & Heath, N. L. (2015). How can educational leaders promote mental health in schools? In D. Griffiths & J. P. Portelli (Eds.), Key questions for educational leaders (pp. 241–250). Burlington: Word & Deed Publishing Incorporated & Edphil Books.Google Scholar
- CASEL (2015). Collaborative for academic, social, and emotional learning. Retrieved from http://www.casel.org/social-and-emotional-learning/.
- CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association) (2014). Mental illness in Canada. Retrieved from http://alberta.cmha.ca/mental_health/statistics/#.VO9zckJNla8.
- Dalai Lama, & Berzin, A. (1997). The Gelug/Kagyu tradition of Mahamudra. New York: Snow Lion.Google Scholar
- Eccles, J. S. (2007). The development of children ages 6 to 14. CYC-Online: Online Journal of the International Child and Youth Care Network, 106.Google Scholar
- Frydenberg, E., Lewis, R., Bugalski, K., Cotta, A., McCarthy, C., Lucombe-Smith, N., & Poole, C. (2004). Prevention is better than cure: coping skills training for adolescents at school. Educational Psychology in Practice: Theory, Research and Practice in Educational Psychology, 20(2), 117–134. https://doi.org/10.1080/02667360410001691053.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Germer, C. K. (2005). Mindfulness: what is it? What does it matter? In C. K. Germer, R. D. Siegel, & P. R. Fulton (Eds.), Mindfulness and psychotherapy (pp. 3–27). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Hedges, L., & Olkin, I. (1985). Statistical methods for meta-analysis. Orlando: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Jadad, A. R., Moore, R. A., Carroll, D., Jenkinson, C., Reynolds, D. J., Gavaghan, D. J., et al. (1996). Assessing the quality of reports of randomized clinical trials: Is blinding necessary? Controlled Clinical Trials, 17(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1016/01972456(95) 00134-4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York: Bantom Dell.Google Scholar
- 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, 763–771. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2013.05.005.
- Koller, J. R., & Bertel, J. M. (2006). Responding to today’s mental health needs of children, families and schools: revisiting the preservice training and preparation of school-based personnel. Education and Treatment of Children, 29(2), 197–217.Google Scholar
- Kukyen, W., Weare, K., Ukoumunne, O. C., Vicary, R., Motton, N., Burnett, R., … Huppert, F. (2013). Effectiveness of the mindfulness in schools programme: non-randomised controlled feasibility study. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 203, 126–131. doi: https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.113.126649.
- Langer, E. J. (1992). Matters of mind: Mindfulness/mindlessness in perspective. Consciousness and Cognition, 1, 289–305.Google Scholar
- Lau, N.-S., & Hue, M.-T. (2011). Preliminary outcomes of a mindfulness-based programme for Hong Kong adolescents in schools: well-being, stress and depressive symptoms. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 16(4), 315–330. https://doi.org/10.1080/1364436X.2011.639747.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- McDevitt, T. M., Omrod, J. E., Cupit, G., Chandler, M., & Aloa, V. (2013). Child development and education. Frenchs Forest: Pearson Australia.Google Scholar
- NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) (2015). Prevalence of any disorder among children. Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-disorder-among-children.shtml.
- Parker, A. E., Kupersmidt, J. B., Mathis, E. T., Scull, T. M., & Sims, C. (2014). The impact of mindfulness education on elementary school students: evaluation of the Master Mind program. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 7(3), 184–204. https://doi.org/10.1080/1754730X.2014.916497.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Raes, F., Griffith, J. W., Van der Gucht, K., & Williams, J. M. G. (2014). School-based prevention and reduction of depression in adolescents: a cluster-randomized controlled trial of a mindfulness group program. Mindfulness, 5, 477–486. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-013-0202-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rosenthal, R. (1993). Meta-analytic procedures for social research. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
- Schonert-Reichl, K. A., Oberle, E., Lawlor, M. S., Abbott, D., Thomson, K., Oberlander, T., & Diamond, A. (2015). Enhancing cognitive and social-emotional development through a simple-to-administer mindfulness-based school program for elementary school children: a randomized controlled trial. Developmental Psychology, 51(1), 52–66.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Zoogman, S., Goldberg, S. B., Hoyt, W. T., & Miller, L. (2014). Mindfulness interventions with youth: a meta-analysis. Mindfulness. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-013-0260-4.