A Mindfulness-Based Group Intervention for Enhancing Self-Regulation of Emotion in Late Childhood and Adolescence: A Pilot Study

Abstract

Emotion dysregulation is strongly implicated in the development of psychological problems during adolescence. The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility and acceptability of an intervention for enhancing self-regulation of emotion in adolescents, adapted from Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy. We studied the impact of the intervention on depressive symptoms, as well as on transdiagnostic psychological processes related to emotional regulation, namely impulsivity and ruminative thinking. Twenty-one participants aged between 11 and 19 years were offered a nine-session group intervention. Adolescents completed standardized questionnaires before and after the training. This intervention was found to increase self-reported mindfulness and was well-accepted by adolescents, as estimated by the low dropout rate. As expected, a decrease was observed in depressive symptoms, in specific impulsivity facets (urgency and lack of perseverance), and in internal-dysfunctional strategies of emotion regulation (especially in unconstructive repetitive thoughts). The present findings provide preliminary support for a group intervention for adolescents characterized by emotion regulation difficulties, targeting transdiagnostic psychological processes (impulsivity and ruminative thinking). Furthermore, by potentially enhancing self-regulation skills, this intervention might constitute an effective method for general prevention of psychological disorders in late childhood and adolescence.

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Acknowledgments

The study reported and the writing of this paper have been facilitated by a grant from the Huoshen Foundation. Data collection has been made possible by the CPS Clinical Service (Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium) and the help of Roser Llop, Hilde Nachtergael and Nathalie Vrielynck.

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Correspondence to Sandrine Deplus or Pierre Philippot.

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Sandrine Deplus, Chantal Scharff, Joël Billieux and Pierre Philippot declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

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Deplus, S., Billieux, J., Scharff, C. et al. A Mindfulness-Based Group Intervention for Enhancing Self-Regulation of Emotion in Late Childhood and Adolescence: A Pilot Study. Int J Ment Health Addiction 14, 775–790 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-015-9627-1

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Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Mindfulness
  • Impulsivity
  • Rumination
  • Depression