Posted from archive: 01.29.2013 | by AMRA

girl_sitting_170

Weijer-Bergsma et al. [Journal of Child and Family Studies] studied the effects of a MindfulKids school-based intervention on 199 boys and girls (aged 8-12) from diverse ethnic backgrounds in three Dutch primary schools. The 6-week program, modeled on MBSR, was taught in twice-weekly 30-minute sessions. Classroom teachers reinforced the program with daily 5-minute meditations. Half the children initially completed the program, while those in a wait-list control completed the program afterwards.

At program’s end, the children had enhanced their bodily awareness and shared emotions more readily. At 7-week follow-up, the children maintained those gains and also improved their ability to differentiate emotions, increased their sense that life was meaningful and manageable, and decreased rumination and analysis of emotions. In addition, the parents reported decreased anxiety and angry/aggressive behavior at home. All these effects were small, yet significant. Lastly, teachers noted a friendlier, more respectful classroom climate.

The children’s response to the intervention depended on their degree of rumination. Non-ruminators increased bodily awareness and attention to other’s emotions, and decreased angry/aggressive behavior. Ruminators, on the other hand, already high at pretest on bodily awareness and attention to other’s emotions and low on angry/aggressive behaviors, showed no such changes. Instead, they decreased analyzing emotions (already high at pretest), in line with the MindfulKids emphasis on observing but not getting entangled in emotions.

Reference:

van de Weijer-Bergsma, E., Formsma, A. R., de Bruin, E. I., & Bögels, S. M. (2012). The effectiveness of mindfulness training on behavioral problems and attentional functioning in adolescents with ADHD. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21(5), 775-787.

[Link to abstract]