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Identifying Core Program Components of Mindfulness-Based Programming for Youth: Delphi Approach Consensus Outcomes



The implementation of mindfulness-based programming/interventions (MBP) for youth, and corresponding research, has proliferated in recent years. Although preliminary evidence is promising, one pressing concern is that the heterogeneity of MBP for youth makes it difficult to infer the essential constituent program elements that may be driving specified outcomes (i.e., core program components (CPCs)).


This research employed the Delphi method to survey expert MBP scientists and instructors to identify consensus of CPCs of MBP for youth.


The study’s advisory board identified scientists based on topical publication record and peer nomination. Delphi Round 1 surveyed scientists (n = 19) to name and define potential CPCs of MBP for youth; responses were qualitatively analyzed yielding 22 MBP categorical codes. Delphi Round 2 recruited MBP instructors (n = 21) identified by scientist participants and peer instructor nomination. In Rounds 2 and 3, the full participant sample (scientists and instructors) were asked to consider the preceding Round’s results and whether each of the 22 identified codes were an essential CPC of MBPs for youth. Final Round 3 results indicated consensus (≥ 75% endorsement) of 9 of the 22 identified codes as CPCs of MBP for youth, including self-awareness, non-judging, focused attention, orienting to present moment, acceptance, compassion, somatic awareness, non-reacting, and decentering. Two additional codes (skillful responding and loving-kindness) were indicated by the instructor subgroup only.


These findings are the first to report expert consensus of identified CPCs of MBP for youth, and results have significant implications for future youth MBP evaluation, implementation, and curriculum development.

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Data Availability

Research data in this study is not shared publicly because participant’s written responses to open-ended questions could lead to de-identification of participants and thus violate expectations for confidentiality as described in the consent document.


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The authors would like to express gratitude for all members of this study’s Delphi panel who contributed their wisdom and time to this collaborative group effort. Panel members who elected to be de-identified and acknowledged include Vernon Anthony Barnes, Mark Bertin, Karen Bluth, Ravid Bogaire, Matthew Brensilver, Patricia C. Broderick, Brian Galla, Andres A. Gonzalez, Matthew Goodman, Susan Kaiser Greenland, Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Siri Krishna Kaur Khalsa, Molly Stewart Lawlor, James K. Luiselli, Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise, Jacqueline Maloney, Helen Marsh, Tamar Mendelson, Moriya Rosenberg, Randye J. Semple, Nirbhay N. Singh, Ricardo Tarrasch, Katleen Van der Gucht, and Betsy L. Wisner. The first author would like to express special thanks to Sarah Felver for helpful feedback on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

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Authors and Affiliations



JCF: conceptualized, designed, and executed the study, analyzed the data, and wrote the paper. ELC, ECH, and MKS: assisted with the data analyses and writing of the paper. LFG partnered on the original conceptualization and design of the study, served as an advisory board, and assisted with editing the final manuscript. MTG and RWR: served as an advisory board, collaborated with the study design, and assisted with editing the final manuscript. RNB and DLS: assisted with conceptualization of the draft manuscript and editing the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joshua C. Felver.

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Ethics Statement

This research was approved by the Syracuse University Institutional Review Board (IRB# 20–043).

Consent to Participate

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no competing interests.

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Felver, J.C., Cary, E.L., Helminen, E.C. et al. Identifying Core Program Components of Mindfulness-Based Programming for Youth: Delphi Approach Consensus Outcomes. Mindfulness 14, 279–292 (2023).

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  • Mindfulness-based Program
  • Components
  • Delphi
  • Children
  • Adolescents