Research On Mindfulness
“The excitement about the application of mindfulness meditation in mental health settings has led to the proliferation of a literature pervaded by a lack of conceptual and methodological self-criticism.We have two major concerns. First, the range of individual differences within the experience of meditation; although some people may benefit from its practice, others will not be affected in any substantive way, and a number of individuals may suffer moderate to serious adverse effects. Second, the insufficient or inconclusive evidence for its benefits, particularly when mindfulness-based interventions are compared with other activities or treatments.”
Farias, M., & Wikholm, C. (2016). Has the science of mindfulness lost its mind? BJPsych Bulletin, 40(6), 329332.http://doi.org/10.1192/pb.bp.116.053686:
Meta Analysis of Mindfulness
- 209 studies enrolling 12,145 participants with a variety of disorders
- Hedge’s g=0.53 in waitlist controlled studies, 0.55 in pre-post studies
- When compared with other active treatments n=0.6
- This indicates a moderate effect size
Bassam K., Et. al., (2013) Mindfulness-based therapy: A comprehensive meta-analysis,
Clinical Psychology Review, 33(6), 763-777.
Napoli, Krech & Holley (2005)
- Reported the results of integrated mindfulness and relaxation work with 225 children with high anxiety, aged between 5-8 taking part in the ‘Attention Academy Program’ in a school context.
- The intervention constituted 12 sessions of 45 minutes each.
- The children showed significant decreases in both test anxiety and ADHD behaviors and also an increase in the ability to pay attention.
- The study was reasonably strong methodologically, being a randomized control trial (RCT) with a large sample, and the use of objective measures of attention.
- In a small study, outlined effort programme to teach MBSR and Tai Chi in a mainstream school to 11-13 year olds in the US
- This brought perceived benefits such improved well‐being, calmness, relaxation, improved sleep, less reactivity, increased self‐ care, self‐awareness, and a sense of connection with nature.
Broderick and Metz (2009)
- The “Learning to BREATHE” curriculum is an MBSR-derived mindfulness programme was evaluated.
- Their study, conducted with a year group of 17 to 19 year-old students in an American independent girls’ school showed decreases in negative affect, and increases in calm, relaxation, self-acceptance, emotional regulation, awareness and clarity.
Huppert and Johnson (2010)
- Reported the outcomes of the Mindfulness in Schools Project’s (hereafter MiSP) pilot mindfulness programme with 14 to 15 year‐old male students.
- Conducted in two English independent boys’ schools, a four‐week mindfulness training produced significant effects on mindfulness, ego‐resilience or well‐being among students who regularly did 10 minutes of home practice a day and smaller changes among those who did not.
- Looked at sixty eight adolescent students aged between 14 and 16 from typical, mixed‐gender secondary schools who followed the full eight week course.
- There were significant differences between participant and control groups’ mindfulness, resilience and well-being, with longer term effects being even greater than immediate effects.
- Students, teachers and parents also reported subjective improvements in students’ motivation and confidence, competence and effectiveness.
Schonert‐Reichl and Lawlor (2010)
- Investigated a mindfulness-based program, delivered by teachers, involving 10 lessons and three times daily practice of mindfulness meditation.
- Overall, there was a significant increase in scores on self-report measures of optimism and positive emotions.
- Teacher reports showed an improvement in social and emotional competence for children in the intervention group, and a decrease in aggression and oppositional behaviour.
Joyce et al. (2010)
- Reported pre and post group differences in children aged 10 to 13 years on measures of behaviour problems and depression.
- The 10 week program delivered by teachers lead to a significant reduction in self‐reported behavioural problems and depression scores, particularly in pupils with clinically significant levels of problem before the intervention.
Liehr and Diaz (2010)
- Carried out a small randomized trial comparing a mindfulness based intervention with another approach.
- Eighteen minority and disadvantaged children recruited from a summer camp were randomly assigned to either a mindfulness‐based intervention in which they went to ten 15 minute classes on mindful breathing and movement for two weeks, or to a heath education group, both interventions focusing on depression and anxiety.
- There was a significant reduction in depression symptoms for those in the mindfulness group and a reduction in anxiety for both groups, in the immediate post treatment follow up.
Lau and Hue (2011)
- Carried out a pilot controlled trial assessing preliminary outcomes of a mindfulness based programme in schools in Hong Kong for twenty four 14 to 16 year old adolescents with low academic performance from two secondary schools, with similar size control groups.
- There was a significant decrease in symptoms of depression and a significant increase in wellbeing among the young people who received the intervention.
Semple et al. (2010)
- Assessed the impact of a 12 week group program based on MBCT in 9 to 13 year old children who were struggling academically.
- Significant improvements were found on measures of attention and reductions in anxiety and behaviour problems compared to those who had not yet had the programme.
Saltzman and Goldin (2008)
- Reported an 8 week MBSR intervention with 31 children, aged 9 to 11, who participated with their parents.
- The teachers were experienced mindfulness instructors. Analysis indicated feasibility, and improvements for children and parents in attention, emotional reactivity and some areas of meta-cognition, based on self and parent report measures, and objective measures of attention.
Beauchemin, Hutchins and Patterson (2008)
- Looked at the feasibility of, attitudes toward, and outcomes of a 5 week mindfulness meditation intervention administered to 34 adolescents diagnosed with learning difficulties.
- All outcome measures showed significant improvement, with participants who completed the program demonstrating decreased state and trait anxiety, enhanced social skills, and improved academic performance.
- The authors hypothesised that mindfulness meditation decreases anxiety and negative self belief, which, in turn, promotes social skills and academic outcomes.
Schonert‐Reichl and Hymel (2007)
- Reviewed the “MindUP” programme which fosters the development of wellbeing traits using social, emotional, attentional and self regulation strategies, including mindfulness exercises.
- Teachers noticed improvements in 9 to 13 year olds’ behaviour, attention and focus.
Flook et al (2010)
- Reviewed the “Inner Kids” mindfulness skills programme which has been taught around the world. Evaluation with 7 to 9 year olds produced parent and teacher rated improvements in so called ‘executive function’ (which refers to the ability to problem solve, plan, initiate and control and monitor one’s own actions, to pay attention, be mentally flexible and multi task, and to employ verbal reasoning).
- Those with lower pre course self regulation were observed to experience greatest improvements in behavioural regulation, meta cognition and executive function.
Kogels et al (2008)
- Evaluated the impact of mindfulness on a group of adolescents diagnosed with attention and behaviour control deficits.
- They reported significant increases in personal goals, sustained attention, happiness and mindful awareness; changes that were ratified by their parents.
- Reported the results of a pilot study of 8 adolescents with ADHD who took part in a mindfulness course and showed improvements on tasks measuring attention and cognitive inhibition, and in externally observed and self reported anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Biegel et al. (2009)
- Studied the effects of a modified 8 week MBSR course for 4 to 18 year olds with a wide range of diagnoses.
- When compared with a control group, the young people who received MBSR self reported significantly reduced symptoms of anxiety, depression, and somatic distress, global assessment of functioning and increased self esteem and sleep quality.
Mendelson et al. (2010)
- Employed a mindfulness based intervention to improve the ability to self regulate in nine and ten year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- The intervention included yoga based physical activity, breathing techniques and guided mindfulness practice designed to help children manage arousal and stress levels.
- Some significant reductions were found on measures of involuntary response to stress and there was a trend for greater trust in friends