Improve Psychological Need Satisfaction in School Students with Mindfulness

Improve Psychological Need Satisfaction in School Students with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness does much more than just create a positive classroom culture. Some of the purported benefits of mindfulness include decreasing stress and anxiety, improving self-esteem and self-regulation, and increasing calm.” – Lily Jones

 

Adolescence is a time of mental, physical, social, and emotional growth. But adolescence can be a difficult time, fraught with challenges. During this time the child transitions to young adulthood; including the development of intellectual, psychological, physical, and social abilities and characteristics. There are so many changes occurring during this time that the child can feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with all that is required. Indeed, up to a quarter of adolescents suffer from depression or anxiety disorders, and an even larger proportion struggle with subclinical symptoms. The stresses can create difficulties in satisfying the adolescent’s needs and create frustration with the lack of need satisfaction.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown in adolescents to improve emotion regulation and to benefit the psychological and emotional health. Autonomy-supportive teaching involves taking students’ perspectives, offering choices to students, and providing rationales to decision making. This type of teaching may help adolescents to make better decisions and be better able to satisfy their needs. So, it would make sense to study the relationships of mindfulness and autonomy-supportive teaching on need satisfaction and frustration in adolescents.

 

In today’s Research News article “Autonomy-Supportive Teaching and Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction among School Students: The Role of Mindfulness. International journal of environmental research and public health.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6679142/), Li and colleagues recruited Chinese secondary school children (grades 7-12) and had them complete a questionnaire. They answered questions as to the autonomy-supportiveness of their Physical Education teacher, their need satisfaction, need frustration, and mindfulness.

 

They found that the higher the levels of autonomy-supportive teaching the higher the levels of mindfulness and need satisfaction and the lower the levels of need frustration. In addition, they found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the higher the levels of need satisfaction and the lower the levels of need frustration. Multiple regression analysis revealed that the relationship of autonomy-supportive teaching with higher need satisfaction and lower need frustration was greater with greater levels of mindfulness. A path analysis revealed the mindfulness was related to higher need satisfaction and lower need frustration both directly and indirectly by being associated with higher levels of autonomy-supportive teaching.

 

It should be kept in mind that the study was correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. Regardless, the study suggests that a teaching strategy of encouraging autonomy and decision making may enhance mindfulness and in turn improve ability to satisfy needs and decrease frustration. That mindfulness may enhance the influence of autonomy-supportive teaching makes sense as the development of mindfulness may provide a more accurate and non-judgmental awareness of the current environment allowing autonomous decision making to be better tailored to the current state of affairs and thereby be more effective.

 

So, improve psychological need satisfaction in school students with mindfulness.

 

“Students who received the mindfulness training reported that their stress levels went down after the training, while the students in the control group did not. Students in the mindfulness training group also reported fewer negative feelings, such as sadness or anger, after the training.” – Science Daily

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Li, C., Kee, Y. H., Kong, L. C., Zou, L., Ng, K. L., & Li, H. (2019). Autonomy-Supportive Teaching and Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction among School Students: The Role of Mindfulness. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(14), 2599. doi:10.3390/ijerph16142599

 

Abstract

Grounded in self-determination theory, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between autonomy-supportive teaching, mindfulness, and basic psychological need satisfaction/frustration. Secondary school students (n = 390, Mage = 15) responded to a survey form measuring psychological constructs pertaining to the research purpose. A series of multiple regression analysis showed that autonomy-supportive teaching and mindfulness positively predicted need satisfaction and negatively predicted need frustration. In addition, the associations between autonomy-supportive teaching and need satisfaction/frustration were moderated by mindfulness. Students higher in mindfulness were more likely to feel need satisfaction and less likely to experience need frustration, even in a low autonomy-supportive teaching environment. These results speak to the relevance of creating autonomy-supportive teaching environments and highlight mindfulness as a potential pathway to basic psychological need satisfaction in educational settings.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6679142/

 

Improve the Symptoms of HIV Infection in Children with Yoga

Improve the Symptoms of HIV Infection in Children with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“It’s about going deep under the waves—the hurricane that’s HIV—and finding a stillness. As debilitating and emotional as HIV is, yoga helps me transcend it so that I can rediscover myself. Then I remember I am not HIV; I am not the face of AIDS. I am me.” – River Huston

 

More than 35 million people worldwide and 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection. These include a significant number of children and adolescents. In 1996, the advent of the protease inhibitor and the so-called cocktail changed the prognosis for HIV. Since this development a 20-year-old infected with HIV can now expect to live on average to age 69. Hence, living with HIV is a long-term reality for a very large group of people. People living with HIV infection experience a wide array of physical and psychological symptoms which decrease their perceived quality of life. The symptoms include chronic pain, muscle aches, anxiety, depression, weakness, fear/worries, difficulty with concentration, concerns regarding the need to interact with a complex healthcare system, stigma, and the challenge to come to terms with a new identity as someone living with HIV.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve psychological well-being, lower depression and strengthen the immune system of patients with HIV infection. Yoga practice has also been found to be effective in treating HIV. Most studies, however, focus on adult patients with HIV. There are, however, a large number of children and adolescents who are infected with HIV. Hence it makes sense to examine the ability of yoga training to treat HIV infection in children and adolescents.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Yoga on Immune Parameters, Cognitive Functions, and Quality of Life among HIV-Positive Children/Adolescents: A Pilot Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6521755/), Chandra and colleagues recruited children and adolescents (aged 8 to 18 years) who had HIV infection from a HIV/AIDS rehabilitation center. Treatment as usual was continued while they were provided with daily 1-hour yoga practice sessions for 6 months. They were measured before and after training for immune system function, health-related quality of life, fatigue-related quality of life, depression, and cognitive function.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline, yoga practice produced a significant decrease in in HIV viral load and a significant increase in plasma CD4 counts. There was also a significant increase in health-related quality of life, including the health and general activities, feelings, getting along with others, and about school subscales, and fatigue-related quality of life, including general fatigue (b) sleep fatigue, and (c) cognitive fatigue. After yoga practice the children and adolescents had significant improvements in cognitive function and increases in depression.

 

The observed effectiveness of yoga practice for the treatment of HIV infected children and adolescents, parallels that observed in prior studies with adults. These include reducing the presence of the virus in the blood, improvement of immune system function, quality of life, and mental abilities. This was a pilot study and did not have a control condition, so conclusions need to be tempered. The results, though are encouraging and should motivate conducting a large randomized controlled trial. Regardless, the results are very encouraging and suggest that yoga practice is beneficial for the health and well-being of youths infected with HIV.

 

So, improve the symptoms of HIV infection in children with yoga.

 

“Yoga is an ideal exercise for people with HIV. It not only helps build muscle and energy, but also reduces stress. . .  stress greatly increases the risk that HIV will progress to AIDS.” – Matt McMillen

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Hari Chandra, B. P., Ramesh, M. N., & Nagendra, H. R. (2019). Effect of Yoga on Immune Parameters, Cognitive Functions, and Quality of Life among HIV-Positive Children/Adolescents: A Pilot Study. International journal of yoga, 12(2), 132–138. doi:10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_51_18

 

Abstract

Context:

HIV/AIDS individuals have problems relating to immune system, quality of life (QOL), and cognitive functions (CFs). Yoga is found to be useful in similar conditions. Hardly, any work is reported on yoga for HIV-positive adults/adolescents. Hence, this study is important.

Aim:

The aim of the study is to determine the effect of yoga on immune parameters, CFs, and QOL of HIV-positive children/adolescents.

Settings and Design:

Single-group, pre–post study with 4-month yoga intervention.

Methods:

The study had 18 children from an HIV/AIDS rehabilitation center for children/adolescents. CD4, CD8, CD4/CD8 ratio, and viral loads were studied. CF tests included six letter cancellation test, symbol digit modalities test, digit-span forward backward test, and Stroop tests. QOL was assessed using PedsQL-QOL and fatigue questionnaire. Depression was assessed using CDI2-SR.

Statistical Analysis Used:

t-test and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests, as applicable.

Results:

The study included 18 children/adolescents. There was improvement in general health of the participants. There was statistically significant increase in CD4 cells counts (p = 0.039) and significant decrease in viral load (p = 0.041). CD4/CD8 ratio moved to normal range. QOL significantly improved. CFs had mixed results with improved psychomotor performance (PP) and reduced executive functions.

Conclusions:

There was improvement in general health and immune parameters. While depression increased, QOL improved. CFs showed mixed results with improved PP and reduced executive functions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6521755/

 

Reduce Parenting Stress and Improve Youth Psychological Health with Mindfulness

Reduce Parenting Stress and Improve Youth Psychological Health with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindful parenting means that you bring your conscious attention to what’s happening, instead of getting hijacked by your emotions. Mindfulness is about letting go of guilt and shame about the past and focusing on right now. It’s about accepting whatever is going on, rather than trying to change it or ignore it.” – Jill Ceder

 

Raising children, parenting, is very rewarding. But it can also be challenging. Children test parents frequently. They test the boundaries of their freedom and the depth of parental love. They demand attention and seem to especially when parental attention is needed elsewhere. They don’t always conform to parental dictates or aspirations for their behavior. The challenges of parenting require that the parents be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. It improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction.

 

Mindful parenting involves the parents having emotional awareness of themselves and compassion for the child and having the skills to pay full attention to the child in the present moment, to accept parenting non-judgmentally and be emotionally non-reactive to the child. Mindful parenting has been shown to have positive benefits for both the parents and the children. The research is accumulating. So, it is important to review and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Mindfulness Interventions for Parents on Parenting Stress and Youth Psychological Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6562566/), Burgdorf and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies on the effects of mindfulness training on parents and children. They found 25 published studies.

 

They report that the published research studies found that following mindfulness training there were moderate to large reductions in parental stress levels. They also found that parental mindfulness training improved their children with significant improvements observed in internalizing and externalizing symptoms, in higher level thinking ability (cognitive domains), and in their social function. In addition, the greater the reductions in parental stress levels reported, the greater the improvements in youth cognitive abilities and externalizing symptoms. Hence, mindfulness training for parents affected the family positively, reducing the perceived stress of parenting and improving their children’s psychological and social abilities. Mindfulness training would appear to have very positive benefits for parents and children.

 

So, reduce parenting stress and improve youth psychological health with mindfulness.

 

“It seems there’s no one right way to parent mindfully. Happily, there are many right ways. . . And sometimes, “It’s as simple as practicing paying full attention to our kids, with openness and compassion, and maybe that’s enough at any moment.” – Juliann Garey

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Burgdorf, V., Szabó, M., & Abbott, M. J. (2019). The Effect of Mindfulness Interventions for Parents on Parenting Stress and Youth Psychological Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1336. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01336

 

Abstract

Background: The psychological well-being of parents and children is compromised in families characterized by greater parenting stress. As parental mindfulness is associated with lower parenting stress, a growing number of studies have investigated whether mindfulness interventions can improve outcomes for families. This systematic review and meta-analysis evaluates the effectiveness of mindfulness interventions for parents, in reducing parenting stress and improving youth psychological outcomes.

Methods: A literature search for peer-reviewed articles and dissertations was conducted in accordance with PRISMA guidelines in the PsycInfo, Medline, PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and ProQuest Dissertations & Theses databases. Studies were included if they reported on a mindfulness-based intervention delivered in person to parents with the primary aim of reducing parenting stress or improving youth psychological outcomes.

Results: Twenty-five independent studies were included in the review. Eighteen studies used a single group design and six were randomized controlled trials. Within-groups, meta-analysis indicated a small, post-intervention reduction in parenting stress (g = 0.34), growing to a moderate reduction at 2 month follow-up (g = 0.53). Overall, there was a small improvement in youth outcomes (g = 0.27). Neither youth age or clinical status, nor time in mindfulness training, moderated parenting stress or overall youth outcome effects. Youth outcomes were not moderated by intervention group attendees. Change in parenting stress predicted change in youth externalizing and cognitive effects, but not internalizing effects. In controlled studies, parenting stress reduced more in mindfulness groups than control groups (g = 0.44). Overall, risk of bias was assessed as serious.

Conclusions: Mindfulness interventions for parents may reduce parenting stress and improve youth psychological functioning. While improvements in youth externalizing and cognitive outcomes may be explained by reductions in parenting stress, it appears that other parenting factors may contribute to improvements in youth internalizing outcomes. Methodological weaknesses in the reviewed literature prevent firm conclusions from being drawn regarding effectiveness. Future research should address these methodological issues before mindfulness interventions for parents are recommended as an effective treatment option for parents or their children.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6562566/

 

Improve Children and Adolescents Mental Health with Mindfulness

Improve Children and Adolescents Mental Health with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“In the last few years mindfulness has emerged as a way of treating children and adolescents with conditions ranging from ADHD to anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, depression and stress. And the benefits are proving to be tremendous.” – Julianne Garey

 

Childhood is a miraculous period during which the child is dynamically absorbing information from every aspect of its environment. This occurs almost without any intervention from the adults as the child appears to be programmed to learn. It is here that behaviors, knowledge, skills, and attitudes are developed that shape the individual.

 

Adolescence is a time of mental, physical, social, and emotional growth. It is during this time that higher levels of thinking, sometimes called executive function, develops. But adolescence can be a difficult time, fraught with challenges. During this time the child transitions to young adulthood; including the development of intellectual, psychological, physical, and social abilities and characteristics. There are so many changes occurring during this time that the child can feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with all that is required.

 

Mindfulness training for children and adolescents has been shown to have very positive effects. These include academic, cognitive, psychological, and social domains. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve emotion regulation and to benefit the psychological and emotional health of adolescents. Importantly, mindfulness training with children and adolescents appears to improve the self-conceptimproves attentional ability and reduces stress. The research findings and evidence are accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and review and summarize what has been learned regarding the effectiveness of mindfulness training for the cognitive growth and mental health and well-being of children and adolescents.

 

In today’s Research News article “Research Review: The effects of mindfulness-based interventions on cognition and mental health in children and adolescents – a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6546608/), Dunning and colleagues review, summarize and perform a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of the effects of mindfulness training on the cognitive ability, psychological health, and well-being of children and adolescents. They identified 33 published randomized controlled trials, 17 of which had active control conditions.

 

They found that over all published studies, mindfulness training resulted in improved cognition and executive function, with larger effects for older children and adolescents. Mindfulness training also produced significantly increased mindfulness and decreased negative behaviors, stress, anxiety and depression. increased mindfulness and decreased stress, anxiety and depression were still significant. But when mindfulness practices were compared to active control conditions cognitive improvements were no longer significant but there were still significant increases in mindfulness and decreases in stress, anxiety and depression.

 

These results are interesting and suggest that mindfulness training produces significant improvements in the mental health of children and adolescents. The results, however, suggest that reported improvements in cognition and behavior may be due to placebo or experimenter bias effects as these same improvements occurred with active control conditions. The improvements in cognitive ability appears to be maximized in adolescents when high level executive functions are developing. The lack of significant effects in studies with active control conditions may have been due to the small number of studies, 7, that had active controls and studied cognition.

 

Regardless, the accumulated research suggests that training children and adolescents in mindfulness may help them navigate the difficult emotional challenges confronting them during development.

 

So, improve children and adolescents’ mental health with mindfulness.

 

“For children, mindfulness can offer relief from whatever difficulties they might be encountering in life. It also gives them the beauty of being in the present moment.” – Annaka Harris

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Dunning, D. L., Griffiths, K., Kuyken, W., Crane, C., Foulkes, L., Parker, J., & Dalgleish, T. (2019). Research Review: The effects of mindfulness-based interventions on cognition and mental health in children and adolescents – a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines, 60(3), 244–258. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12980

 

Abstract

Background

Mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) are an increasingly popular way of attempting to improve the behavioural, cognitive and mental health outcomes of children and adolescents, though there is a suggestion that enthusiasm has moved ahead of the evidence base. Most evaluations of MBIs are either uncontrolled or nonrandomized trials. This meta-analysis aims to establish the efficacy of MBIs for children and adolescents in studies that have adopted a randomized, controlled trial (RCT) design.

Methods

A systematic literature search of RCTs of MBIs was conducted up to October 2017. Thirty-three independent studies including 3,666 children and adolescents were included in random effects meta-analyses with outcome measures categorized into cognitive, behavioural and emotional factors. Separate random effects meta-analyses were completed for the seventeen studies (n = 1,762) that used an RCT design with an active control condition.

Results

Across all RCTs we found significant positive effects of MBIs, relative to controls, for the outcome categories of Mindfulness, Executive Functioning, Attention, Depression, Anxiety/Stress and Negative Behaviours, with small effect sizes (Cohen’s d), ranging from .16 to .30. However, when considering only those RCTs with active control groups, significant benefits of an MBI were restricted to the outcomes of Mindfulness (d = .42), Depression (d = .47) and Anxiety/Stress (d = .18) only.

Conclusions

This meta-analysis reinforces the efficacy of using MBIs for improving the mental health and wellbeing of youth as assessed using the gold standard RCT methodology. Future RCT evaluations should incorporate scaled-up definitive trial designs to further evaluate the robustness of MBIs in youth, with an embedded focus on mechanisms of action.

Key points

  • Mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) are a popular way of attempting to improve the mental and physical health outcomes of children and adolescents.
  • This is the first meta-analysis of MBIs with youth composed exclusively of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) including RCTs with active control groups – the gold standard in intervention studies.
  • When using the gold standard research design results showed that MBIs are useful in improving Depression and Anxiety outcomes, but not behavioural or cognitive outcomes,
  • The meta-analysis advocates the use of MBIs for improving mental health in young people.
  • Future RCT evaluations should incorporate scaled-up definitive trial designs to further evaluate the robustness of MBIs in youth, with an embedded focus on mechanisms of action.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6546608/

 

Improve Attention and Hyperactivity in Kindergarten Children with Yoga

Improve Attention and Hyperactivity in Kindergarten Children with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga is a systematic workout regimen that has rejuvenating and calming effects on our body and mind. Young kids go through conflicting emotions, and yoga helps calm them down. They are also extremely flexible and therefore, a practice like yoga will help them contort their bodies in different ways.” – Shirin Mehdi

 

Yoga practice has been shown to have a large number of beneficial effects on the psychological, emotional, and physical health of the individual and is helpful in the treatment of mental and physical illness. The acceptance of yoga practice has spread from the home and yoga studios to its application with children in schools. Studies of these school programs have found that yoga practice produces a wide variety of positive psychosocial and physical benefits.

 

Teachers also note improvements in their students following yoga practice. These include improved classroom behavior and social–emotional skills, concentration, mood, ability to function under pressure, social skills, and attention and lower levels of hyperactivity. In addition, school records, academic tests have shown that yoga practice produces improvements in student grades and academic performance. This, in turn, improves the classroom experience for the teachers. Hence there are very good reasons to further study the effects of yoga practice early in children’s schooling; kindergarten.

 

In today’s Research News article “12 Weeks of Kindergarten-Based Yoga Practice Increases Visual Attention, Visual-Motor Precision and Decreases Behavior of Inattention and Hyperactivity in 5-Year-Old Children.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00796/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_963174_69_Psycho_20190416_arts_A), Jarraya and colleagues recruited kindergarten students and randomly assigned them to either practice yoga, normal physical education, or no treatment control. Yoga and Physical Education occurred twice per week for 30 minutes for 12 weeks. The Hatha yoga practice included postures and breathing exercises. The children were measured by their kindergarten teacher before and after the treatments for visual attention, visuomotor precision, inattention, and hyperactivity/impulsivity.

 

They found that in comparison to PE and control children, the children who practiced yoga had significantly improved visual attention and visuomotor precision, and significantly lower inattention, and hyperactivity/impulsivity. Visuomotor precision is a measure of cognitive function and includes measures of language, memory and learning, sensorimotor, social perception, and visuospatial processing. Hence, yoga practice improved attention, behavioral control, and higher-level thinking in the kindergarten children.

 

These are exciting results that are similar to those observed with older children. The abilities observed to have improved in the kindergarten children who practiced yoga are abilities that are essential for school performance. Attention is a key ability and that along with an additional reduction in hyperactivity sets the stage for learning. Then improved cognitive ability further heightens learning ability. This suggests that yoga practice has large benefits and should be recommended for young children to promote their ability to learn and perform in school.

 

So, improve attention and hyperactivity in kindergarten children with yoga.

 

“It sounds kind of goofy to people who don’t work with little kids, but kids that have a weak core have a hard time sitting still, and that can look like they’re not paying attention. Those are the kinds of mind-body connections you don’t think about until you start looking into it.” – Chas Zelinsky

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Jarraya S, Wagner M, Jarraya M and Engel FA (2019) 12 Weeks of Kindergarten-Based Yoga Practice Increases Visual Attention, Visual-Motor Precision and Decreases Behavior of Inattention and Hyperactivity in 5-Year-Old Children. Front. Psychol. 10:796. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00796

 

The present study assesses the impact of Kindergarten-based yoga on cognitive performance, visual-motor coordination, and behavior of inattention and hyperactivity in 5-year-old children. In this randomized controlled trial, 45 children (28 female; 17 male; 5.2 ± 0.4 years) participated. Over 12 weeks, 15 children performed Hatha-yoga twice a week for 30 min, another 15 children performed generic physical education (PE) twice a week for 30 min, and 15 children performed no kind of physical activities, serving as control group (CG). Prior to (T0) and after 12 weeks (T1), all participants completed Visual Attention and Visuomotor Precision subtests of Neuropsychological Evaluation Battery and teachers evaluated children’s behavior of inattention and hyperactivity with the Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Rating Scale-IV. At T0, no significant differences between groups appeared. Repeated measures analysis of variance revealed that following Bonferroni–Holm corrections yoga, in comparison to PE and CG, had a significant positive impact on the development on behavior of inattention and hyperactivity. Further, yoga has a significant positive impact on completion times in two visumotor precision tasks in comparison to PE. Finally, results indicate a significant positive effect of yoga on visual attention scores in comparison to CG. 12 weeks of Kindergarten-based yoga improves selected visual attention and visual-motor precision parameters and decreases behavior of inattention and hyperactivity in 5-year-old children. Consequently, yoga represents a sufficient and cost-benefit effective exercise which could enhance cognitive and behavioral factors relevant for learning and academic achievement among young children.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00796/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_963174_69_Psycho_20190416_arts_A

 

Improve Children’s Generosity with Mindful Parenting

Improve Children’s Generosity with Mindful Parenting

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“To bring mindful attention and awareness into your interactions with your child really seems to set the stage for you to be a good parent,” – Justin Parent

 

Raising children, parenting, is very rewarding. But it can also be challenging. Children test parents frequently. They test the boundaries of their freedom and the depth of parental love. They demand attention and seem to especially when parental attention is needed elsewhere. They don’t always conform to parental dictates or aspirations for their behavior. The challenges of parenting require that the parents be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. It improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction.

 

Mindful parenting involves the parents having emotional awareness of themselves and compassion for the child and having the skills to pay full attention to the child in the present moment, to accept parenting non-judgmentally and be emotionally non-reactive to the child. Mindful parenting has been shown to have positive benefits for both the parents and the children. So, it is important to further investigate the nature of the effects of mindful parenting on the behavior of children.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Role of Mindful Parenting in Individual and Social Decision-Making in Children.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00550/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_943967_69_Psycho_20190326_arts_A), Wong and colleagues recruited mothers and children who were 4 to 6 years old. The mothers completed a measure of mindful parenting. The children were asked to select a single toy from a chest containing a number of toys. They were rated for time to decision making, decision-related stress, doubt/indecisiveness, and confirmation seeking. The children were also examined for how many stickers that they were willing to share with a stuffed bunny character after the bunny shared some with them.

 

They found that there were no significant relationships between mindful parenting by the mother and any measure of the child’s decision making. But there was a significant relationship between mindful parenting and the child’s sharing behavior such that the greater the mother’s mindful parenting, the greater the sharing behavior by the child.

 

These are interesting findings that mothers who parent mindfully have children who share more generously. It is not known why this would be true. But it can be speculated that mindful parents are themselves more generous toward the child which affects the child’s generosity. Regardless, this higher sharing may result in greater prosocial behaviors as the children grow into adulthood. This is another example of the positive effects of mindful parenting.

 

So, improve children’s generosity with mindful parenting.

 

“Mindful mornings may be less efficient, but they’re more pleasurable. ‘What’s happening right now is all there is. Why make everybody unhappy? If we’re five minutes late to preschool it doesn’t change anything. What changes things is the frustration, and the stress that builds up and then everything unravels.’” – Juliann Garey

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wong K, Hicks LM, Seuntjens TG, Trentacosta CJ, Hendriksen THG, Zeelenberg M and van den Heuvel MI (2019) The Role of Mindful Parenting in Individual and Social Decision-Making in Children. Front. Psychol. 10:550. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00550

 

Children are confronted with an increasing amount of choices every day, which can be stressful. Decision-making skills may be one of the most important “21st century skills” that children need to master to ensure success. Many aspects of decision-making, such as emotion regulation during stressful situations, develop in the context of caregiver-child interactions. This study examined whether mindful parenting predicts children’s individual and social decision-making. The current study included 63 mother-child dyads from The Netherlands (Child Mage  = 5.11, SD = 0.88, 50.8% girls). Mothers completed the Dutch version of the Interpersonal Mindfulness in Parenting Scale (IM-P). A “Choice Task” was developed to measure individual decision-making skills, and a “Sharing Task” was created to measure social decision-making in young children. Higher maternal mindful parenting significantly predicted more sharing after controlling for covariates (child age, sex, SES, maternal education level; Wald = 4.505, p = 0.034). No main effect of maternal mindful parenting was found for any of the individual decision-making measures. These findings suggest that mindful parenting supports children’s social decision-making. Future research should investigate if the combination of mindful parenting and children’s early decision-making skills predict key developmental outcomes.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00550/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_943967_69_Psycho_20190326_arts_A

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Changing Neural Connectivity in Children and Adolescents

Mindfulness is Associated with Changing Neural Connectivity in Children and Adolescents

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness meditation training increases resting state connectivity between top-down executive control regions, highlighting an important mechanism through which it reduces stress levels.” Daniel Reed

 

There has accumulated a large amount of research demonstrating that mindfulness has significant benefits for psychological, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. It even improves high level thinking known as executive function. Its positive effects are so widespread that it is difficult to find any other treatment of any kind with such broad beneficial effects on everything from thinking to mood and happiness to severe mental and physical illnesses. This raises the question of how mindfulness training could produce such widespread and varied benefits. One possibility is that mindfulness practice results in beneficial changes in the nervous system.

 

The nervous system is a dynamic entity, constantly changing and adapting to the environment. It will change size, activity, and connectivity in response to experience. These changes in the brain are called neuroplasticity. Over the last decade neuroscience has been studying the effects of contemplative practices on the brain and has identified neuroplastic changes in widespread areas. In other words, mindfulness practice appears to mold and change the brain, producing psychological, physical, and spiritual benefits.

 

The brains of children and adolescents are different from fully mature adult brains. They are dynamically growing and changing. It is unclear how mindfulness affects their maturing brains. In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness and dynamic functional neural connectivity in children and adolescents.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5610942/ ), Marusak and colleagues examined the relationship of mindfulness with brain activity in the maturing brain. They recruited children and adolescents aged 7 to 17 years and measured them for mindfulness, anxiety, and depression.

 

The children and adolescents then had their brains scanned with functional Magnetic Imaging (fMRI). The scans were evaluated for static connectivity, the relatively permanent connections between brain areas, and dynamic connectivity, the changing connections between areas. They looked specifically at 3 systems in the brain, the central executive network, associated with higher level thinking and attention, the salience and emotion network, associate with the importance of stimuli, and the default mode network, associated with mind wandering and self-referential thinking.

 

They found that mindfulness was associated with better mental health of the children and adolescents with high levels of mindfulness significantly associated with low levels of depression and anxiety. Mindfulness was also significantly associated with the amount of present-moment oriented thinking occurring during the brain scan session. Mindfulness was not associated with static connectivity within the children’s and adolescents’ brains.

 

With dynamic connectivity on the other hand, they found that mindfulness was associated with greater numbers of transitions between connectivity states. That is, the higher the levels of mindfulness the greater the number of times the connectivity pattern in the brain changed from one set of connections to another. Finally, they also found that the numbers of transitions between connectivity states mediated the association of mindfulness with lower anxiety, such that mindfulness was associated with lower anxiety both with a direct association of mindfulness with lower anxiety and indirectly by higher mindfulness being associated with greater dynamic connectivity which was in turn associated with lower anxiety.

 

The results suggest that mindfulness is associated with greater brain flexibility in transitioning from different states and this may allow for less anxiety. This suggests that mindfulness allows for greater ability to see things and evaluate what is occurring in different ways and this helps the youths to better appreciate what is happening and thereby lower anxiety. These are incredibly interesting findings that begin to reveal the neural dynamics occurring in children and adolescents that underlie the ability of mindfulness to improve mental health. Mindfulness isn’t associated with different brain connectivity structures in the brains but rather with different abilities to switch around in real time between systems and this improves mental health.

 

“Just 11 hours of learning a meditation technique induce positive structural changes in brain connectivity by boosting efficiency in a part of the brain that helps a person regulate behavior in accordance with their goals.” – University of Oregon

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Marusak, H. A., Elrahal, F., Peters, C. A., Kundu, P., Lombardo, M. V., Calhoun, V. D., Goldberg, E. K., Cohen, C., Taub, J. W., … Rabinak, C. A. (2017). Mindfulness and dynamic functional neural connectivity in children and adolescents. Behavioural brain research, 336, 211-218.

 

Abstract

Background

Interventions that promote mindfulness consistently show salutary effects on cognition and emotional wellbeing in adults, and more recently, in children and adolescents. However, we lack understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying mindfulness in youth that should allow for more judicious application of these interventions in clinical and educational settings.

Methods

Using multi-echo multi-band fMRI, we examined dynamic (i.e., time-varying) and conventional static resting-state connectivity between core neurocognitive networks (i.e., salience/emotion, default mode, central executive) in 42 children and adolescents (ages 6–17).

Results

We found that trait mindfulness in youth relates to dynamic but not static resting-state connectivity. Specifically, more mindful youth transitioned more between brain states over the course of the scan, spent overall less time in a certain connectivity state, and showed a state-specific reduction in connectivity between salience/emotion and central executive networks. The number of state transitions mediated the link between higher mindfulness and lower anxiety, providing new insights into potential neural mechanisms underlying benefits of mindfulness on psychological health in youth.

Conclusions

Our results provide new evidence that mindfulness in youth relates to functional neural dynamics and interactions between neurocognitive networks, over time.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5610942/

 

Improve the Emotional and Psychosocial Quality of Life of Grammar School Children with Yoga

Improve the Emotional and Psychosocial Quality of Life of Grammar School Children with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Studies show that mindfulness- and yoga-based skills, conscious breath work, and body awareness improve academic performance and emotional regulation. Mindfulness-based practices also reduce anxiety and increase attention. . . . Research also reveals that mindfulness strategies enhance executive function in kids, supporting positive behavioral changes. In addition, a yoga practice promotes confidence and strength along with compassion and self-acceptance.” – Kimberly Jordan Allen

 

Yoga practice has been shown to have a large number of beneficial effects on the psychological, emotional, and physical health of the individual and is helpful in the treatment of mental and physical illness. The acceptance of yoga practice has spread from the home and yoga studios to its application with children in schools. Studies of these school programs have found that yoga practice produces a wide variety of positive psychosocial and physical benefits.

 

Teachers also note improvements in their students following yoga practice. These include improved classroom behavior and social–emotional skills, concentration, mood, ability to function under pressure, social skills, and attention and lower levels of hyperactivity. In addition, school records, academic tests have shown that yoga practice produces improvements in student grades and academic performance. This, in turn, improves the classroom experience for the teachers. Hence there are very good reasons to further study the effects of yoga practice in school on grammar school children.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of mindfulness and yoga on quality of life for elementary school students and teachers: results of a randomized controlled school-based study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5903833/ ), Bazzano and colleagues recruited third grade students who screened positive for symptoms of anxiety and randomly assigned them to receive either an 8-week yoga/mindfulness training or to a no-treatment control condition. The yoga program occurred in 10 in-class 40-minute sessions and included postures, breathing exercises, and relaxation. The students were measured at the beginning, middle, and end of the 8-week intervention period for life satisfaction and childhood quality of life including physical, emotional, social, and school domains. In addition, teachers were measured for health-related quality of life.

 

They found that in the middle and after the yoga/mindfulness intervention the students had significant improvements in psychosocial and emotional quality of life. The teachers reported that after the program they were significantly more likely to include yoga practice in their classrooms. Hence, the brief yoga/mindfulness program was successful in improving the social and emotional life conditions for the children and these improvements were sufficiently noticeable that the teachers decided to continue employing yoga practice in the classroom after the program was completed.

 

These results are encouraging and suggest that even at a relatively young age and early in children’s school life practicing yoga in school improves their and their teachers’ lives. It should be noted that the comparison condition did not include any treatment. In future research an active control condition such as aerobic exercise should be included to determine if the effects are specific for yoga practice or might occur with any exercise program. Regardless, the program helped to improve the lives of anxious young students.

 

So, improve the emotional and psychosocial quality of life of grammar school children with Yoga.

 

“Yoga in my classroom creates a sense of community. They are more of a unified group.  Something about yoga brings the students together, almost like team building.” – YogaCalm

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Bazzano, A. N., Anderson, C. E., Hylton, C., & Gustat, J. (2018). Effect of mindfulness and yoga on quality of life for elementary school students and teachers: results of a randomized controlled school-based study. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 11, 81–89. http://doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S157503

 

Abstract

Objective

To assess the impact of a yoga curriculum in an elementary school on student quality of life, and to assess teacher and staff perception of potential barriers to, and benefits of, introducing yoga and mindfulness into the classroom.

Methods

A randomized controlled trial was utilized to assess the impact of a brief intervention on third-grade students who screened positive for symptoms of anxiety. Students were randomized to an intervention group of 20 students receiving small-group yoga/mindfulness activities for 8 weeks between October 2016 and February 2017, and a control group of 32 students receiving care as usual. The Brief Multidimensional Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale-Peabody Treatment Progress Battery and the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) served as outcomes. Teachers were invited to participate in two professional development sessions about introducing yoga and mindfulness into the classroom, and completed a survey following each of the sessions.

Results

In generalized estimating equation models adjusted for time, the yoga-based intervention was associated with a 14.17 unit increase in student emotional PedsQL (p-value 0.001) and a 7.43 unit increase in psychosocial PedsQL (p-value 0.01). Results were not attenuated by adjustment. Teachers and staff reported using yoga more frequently in the classroom following the second of two professional development sessions (p-value <0.05). Perceived barriers to introducing yoga to the classroom were similar at two data collection time points, while perceived benefits remained high.

Conclusion

The intervention was associated with a significant improvement in emotional and psychosocial quality of life in the intervention group when compared to the control group, suggesting that yoga/mindfulness interventions may improve symptoms of anxiety among students. Yoga/mindfulness activities may facilitate stress management among elementary school students and may be added as a complement to social and emotional learning activities.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5903833/

 

Improve Psychological Well-Being of Children with Learning Disabilities with Mindfulness

Improve Psychological Well-Being of Children with Learning Disabilities with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness is a practice that can help children with LD manage stress and anxiety • Daily meditation gives children a relaxation tool they can call upon when stress levels rise” – Marcia Eckerd

 

Learning disabilities are quite common, affecting an estimated 4.8% of children in the U.S. These disabilities present problems for the children in learning mathematics, reading and writing. These difficulties, in turn, affect performance in other academic disciplines. The presence of learning disabilities can have serious consequences for the psychological well-being of the children, including their self-esteem and social skills. In addition, anxiety, depression, and conduct disorders often accompany learning disabilities.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to lower anxiety and depression and to improve self-esteem and social skills, and to improve conduct disorders. It has also been shown to improve attention, memory, and learning and increase success in school. So, it would make sense to explore the application of mindfulness training for the treatment of children with severe learning disabilities.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Mindfulness-Based Intervention Pilot Feasibility Study for Elementary School Students with Severe Learning Difficulties: Effects on Internalized and Externalized Symptoms from an Emotional Regulation Perspective.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871167/ ), Malboeuf-Hurtubise and colleagues recruited children with severe learning disabilities who were 9 to 12 years of age and attended a special education class. They received an 8-week mindfulness training program that met once a week for 60 minutes and included body scan, walking, and breath meditations. The children also practiced in class once a week for 30 minutes. They were measured before and after training for mindfulness, anxiety, depression, hyperactivity, aggression, attention, and conduct problems.

 

They found that in comparison to the baseline measurements, after mindfulness training the children evidenced significant improvements in anxiety, depression, aggression, attention, and conduct problems. Hence, after mindfulness training the children showed significant improvements in their psychological well-being and behavior. It should be noted that this was a pilot study and did not contain a control or comparison condition. So, firm conclusions cannot be made. But the results are sufficiently interesting and the magnitude of the effects large enough, that they support the conduct of a large scale randomized controlled clinical trial. If mindfulness training can be definitively shown to improve the psychological well-being and behavior of children with learning disabilities, it will be of great benefit in relieving at least some of the suffering of these unfortunate children.

 

So, improve psychological well-being of children with learning disabilities with mindfulness.

 

“Study outcomes suggest that mindful meditation decreases anxiety and detrimental self-focus, which, in turn, promotes social skills and academic success for students with learning disabilities” – Kristine Burgess

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Malboeuf-Hurtubise, C., Lacourse, E., Taylor, G., Joussemet, M., & Ben Amor, L. (2017). A Mindfulness-Based Intervention Pilot Feasibility Study for Elementary School Students with Severe Learning Difficulties: Effects on Internalized and Externalized Symptoms From an Emotional Regulation Perspective. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 22(3), 473–481. http://doi.org/10.1177/2156587216683886

Abstract

Objective.

Students with severe learning disabilities often show signs of anxiety, depression, and problem behaviors such as inattention and conduct problems. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) in school settings constitute a promising option to alleviate these co-occurring symptoms. This pilot study aimed to evaluate the impact of an MBI on symptoms and behaviors of elementary school students with severe learning disabilities.

Method.

A one-group pretest-posttest design was used. The sample comprised 14 students aged 9 to 12 years with special education needs. Both student-report and teacher-report of the Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition were used.

Results.

Repeated-measures analyses of variance revealed a significant impact of the MBI on symptoms and behaviors such as anxiety, depression, inattention, aggression, and conduct problems. Effect sizes for all variables were considered large (partial η2 = .31-.61).

Conclusion.

These preliminary results indicate that MBIs can reduce the frequency of symptoms and problem behaviors often found in children with learning disabilities in elementary schools. Further multiple baseline experimental trials with a long-term follow-up are warranted to establish more robustly the effect of MBIs for children with learning disabilities.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871167/

 

Mindfulness Plus Reflection Training Improves Thinking in Pre-School Children

Mindfulness Plus Reflection Training Improves Thinking in Pre-School Children

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“When we teach mindfulness to children, we are sharing with them skillful ways of relating to life’s uncomfortable and challenging moments. The earlier we do so in their young lives, the greater the opportunity to help them cultivate resilience and develop and refine their mindfulness practice as they mature.” – Scott Rogers

 

Childhood is a miraculous period during which the child is dynamically absorbing information from every aspect of its environment. This occurs almost without any intervention from the adults as the child appears to be programmed to learn. It is here that behaviors, knowledge, skills, and attitudes are developed that shape the individual. But, what is absorbed depends on the environment. If it is replete with speech, the child will learn speech, if it is replete with trauma, the child will learn fear, if it is replete with academic skills the child will learn these, and if it is replete with interactions with others, the child will learn social skills.

 

Pre-School and elementary school are environments that have a huge effect on development. They are also excellent times to teach children the skills to adaptively negotiate its environment. Mindfulness training in school, at all levels has been shown to have very positive effects. These include academic, cognitive, psychological, and social domains. Importantly, mindfulness training in school appears to improve the student’s self-concept. It also improves attentional ability and reduces stress, which are keys to successful learning in school. Since, what occurs in these early years and in school can have such a profound, long-term effect on the child it is important to further study the impact of mindfulness training on the development of thinking skills in pre-school children.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Plus Reflection Training: Effects on Executive Function in Early Childhood.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00208/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_556427_69_Psycho_20180301_arts_A ), Zelazo and colleagues recruited preschool children (4-5 years old) from two schools with predominantly children from low-income families and randomly assigned them to either Mindfulness + Reflection, Literacy, or Business as Usual conditions. Mindfulness + Reflection and Literacy training occurred daily for 6 weeks for 24 minutes per day. Mindfulness + Reflection training was adapted for young children and involved mindfulness and relaxation exercises, attention to thoughts and emotions, and cognitive enrichment programs; particularly attention training. The literacy program was adapted from the OWL (Opening the World of Learning) program.

 

The children were measured before the 6-week training period for vocabulary, math skills, IQ, and reading readiness. The children were measured before and after the 6-week training period and 4-6 weeks later for executive function, theory of mind, and literacy with measures adapted for young children. Teachers also rated the children for behaviors indicating surgency, negative affect, and effortful control and for attachment/relationships, behavioral concerns, initiative, and self-control.

 

They found that after training most of the children in all groups showed significant improvements on many of the measures. But, the children participating in the Mindfulness + Reflection program had significantly greater increases in overall executive function scores including working memory measures. The literacy training group had significantly greater improvements in effortful control reflecting improvements in inhibitory control, attentional control, low intensity pleasure, and perceptual sensitivity. Hence, they found evidence that mindfulness training can improve thinking while literacy training can improve behavioral control in very young disadvantaged children.

 

Early childhood is a time of rapid brain development and cognitive abilities. Since, it’s been shown that mindfulness training can produces changes in the brains of adolescents and adults, it is likely that the training in early childhood also changes brain development, This is a very important period of development and improvements here may well affect the children for the rest of their lives. This may be particularly important for disadvantaged children potentially altering the trajectory of their lives,

 

This study is laudable as working with and measuring very young children is challenging and requires insight and creativity. But, research conducted during this dynamic phase of development is particularly important. Of course, much more work is needed. But these results are promising and lend support to conducting further work.

 

“There is an emerging body of research that indicates mindfulness can help children improve their abilities to pay attention, to calm down when they are upset and to make better decisions. In short, it helps with emotional regulation and cognitive focus.” – Sarah Rudell Beach

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Zelazo PD, Forston JL, Masten AS and Carlson SM (2018) Mindfulness Plus Reflection Training: Effects on Executive Function in Early Childhood. Front. Psychol. 9:208. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00208

 

Executive function (EF) skills are essential for academic achievement, and poverty-related stress interferes with their development. This pre-test, post-test, follow-up randomized-control trial assessed the impact of an intervention targeting reflection and stress reduction on children’s EF skills. Preschool children (N = 218) from schools serving low-income families in two U.S. cities were randomly assigned to one of three options delivered in 30 small-group sessions over 6 weeks: Mindfulness + Reflection training; Literacy training; or Business as Usual (BAU). Sessions were conducted by local teachers trained in a literacy curriculum or Mindfulness + Reflection intervention, which involved calming activities and games that provided opportunities to practice reflection in the context of goal-directed problem solving. EF improved in all groups, but planned contrasts indicated that the Mindfulness + Reflection group significantly outperformed the BAU group at Follow-up (4 weeks post-test). No differences in EF were observed between the BAU and Literacy training groups. Results suggest that a brief, small-group, school-based intervention teaching mindfulness and reflection did not improve EF skills more than literacy training but is promising compared to BAU for improving EF in low-income preschool children several weeks following the intervention.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00208/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_556427_69_Psycho_20180301_arts_A