Mindfulness Training Might Improve Need Satisfaction and Anxiety in Children with Learning Disabilities

Mindfulness Training Might Improve Need Satisfaction and Anxiety in Children with Learning Disabilities

 

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 attentionmemory, 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 “Impact of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Internalized Symptoms in Elementary School Students With Severe Learning Disabilities: Results From a Randomized Cluster Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02715/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1184693_69_Psycho_20191217_arts_A), 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 training program that met once a week for 60 minutes. One group received mindfulness training, including body scan, walking, and breath meditations. The second group received social skills development training, including finding purpose in life, becoming responsible and engaged citizens, and developing a sense of belonging to the school and community. The children were measured before and after training and 3 months later for anxiety, depression, and need satisfaction, including autonomy, competence, and relatedness.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline both groups had significant improvements in competence and significant decreases in anxiety. There were no significant differences between the mindfulness and social skills groups. Because there wasn’t a no-treatment condition present it is not possible to discern if both conditions produced the observed improvements or that they were due to a contaminating factor such as participant of experimenter bias, Hawthorn effects, or simply time-based effects. But mindfulness training has been repeatedly found in highly controlled experiments to reduce anxiety. So, it is likely that the change observed in this study was due to the mindfulness training.

 

This is a very vulnerable group of children and improvements in emotions and feelings of competence are potentially very significant for the improvement of their lives. So, further research is warranted.

 

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, Taylor G and Mageau GA (2019) Impact of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Internalized Symptoms in Elementary School Students With Severe Learning Disabilities: Results From a Randomized Cluster Trial. Front. Psychol. 10:2715. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02715

 

Background: Mindfulness is hypothesized to lead to more realistic appraisals of the three basic psychological needs, which leads people to benefit from high levels of need satisfaction or helps them make the appropriate changes to improve need satisfaction. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have also shown promise to foster greater basic psychological need satisfaction in students with learning disabilities (LDs).

Objective: The goal of the present study was to evaluate the impact of a MBI on the satisfaction of the basic psychological needs and on internalized symptoms in students with severe LDs. A randomized cluster trial was implemented to compare the progression of need satisfaction, anxiety, and depression symptoms in participants pre- to post-intervention and at follow-up.

Method: Elementary school students with severe LDs (N = 23) in two special education classrooms took part in this study and were randomly attributed to either an experimental or an active control group.

Results: Mixed ANOVAs first showed that the experimental condition did not moderate change over time such that similar effects were observed in the experimental and active control groups. Looking at main effects of time on participants’ scores of autonomy, competence, and relatedness across time, we found a significant within-person effect for the competence need (p = 0.02). Post hoc analyses showed that for both groups, competence scores were significantly higher at post-intervention (p = 0.03) and at follow-up (p = 0.04), when compared to pre-intervention scores. A significant main effect was also found for anxiety levels over time (p = 0.008). Post hoc analyses showed that for both groups, scores were significantly lower at post-intervention (p = 0.01) and at follow-up (p = 0.006), when compared to pre-intervention scores.

Conclusion: Although the MBI seemed useful in increasing the basic psychological need of competence and decreasing anxiety symptoms in students with severe LDs, it was not more useful than the active control intervention that was used in this project. Future studies should verify that MBIs have an added value compared to other types of interventions that can be more easily implemented in school-based settings.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02715/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1184693_69_Psycho_20191217_arts_A

 

Improve Emotion Regulation in Teacher Trainees with Mindfulness

Improve Emotion Regulation in Teacher Trainees with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindful emotion regulation represents the capacity to remain mindfully aware at all times, irrespective of the apparent valence or magnitude of any emotion that is experienced. It does not entail suppression of the emotional experience, nor any specific attempts to reappraise or alter it in any way. Instead, MM involves a systematic retraining of awareness and nonreactivity, leading to defusion from whatever is experienced, and allowing the individual to more consciously choose those thoughts, emotions and sensations they will identify with, rather than habitually reacting to them.” – Richard Chambers

 

Mindfulness practice has been shown to improve emotions and their regulation. Practitioners demonstrate more positive and less negative emotions and the ability to fully sense and experience emotions, while responding to them in appropriate and adaptive ways. In other words, mindful people are better able to experience yet control their responses to emotions. The ability of mindfulness training to improve emotion regulation is thought to be the basis for a wide variety of benefits that mindfulness provides to mental health and the treatment of mental illness especially depression and anxiety disorders.

 

Teachers experience burnout at high rates. Roughly a half a million teachers out of a workforce of three million, leave the profession each year and the rate is almost double in poor schools compared to affluent schools. Indeed, nearly half of new teachers leave in their first five years. Burnout frequently results from emotional exhaustion. Hence, methods of improving teacher emotion regulation need to be studied. Intervening during teacher training may be a useful strategy as improving emotion regulation very early before the teaching career begins may prepare the teachers to better deal with the difficulties of their profession.

 

In today’s Research News article “Improving emotion regulation and mood in teacher trainees: Effectiveness of two mindfulness trainings.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6749600/), Wimmer and colleagues recruited college students who intended to become school teachers and assigned them to one of four conditions, mindfulness training with yoga, mindfulness training without yoga, awareness training, or no-treatment. The mindfulness training was based upon Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). The modified MBSR program consisted of 7 weekly 1.5-hour group sessions involving meditation, yoga, body scan, and discussion. The teachers are also encouraged to perform 20 minutes of daily practice. Awareness training occurred on a similar schedule and emphasized reflections on consciousness and awareness. They were measured before and after training for emotion regulation, response style, and positive and negative emotions.

 

They found that in comparison to the no-treatment control and baseline both mindfulness groups had significant increases in reappraisal and decreases in symptom‐focused rumination, distraction, and depressive mood. These effects of mindfulness training were found to be, in part, mediated by the distraction strategy of emotion regulation. There were no significant differences in the effects of mindfulness training with and without yoga on emotion regulation or mood.

 

These results suggest that mindfulness training regardless of whether yoga is included is effective in increasing emotion regulation in college students aspiring to become teachers. It is interesting that distraction was to some extent a mediator of the effects of mindfulness training. This strategy involves dealing with strong emotions by shifting attention to more pleasant aspects of the situation. Mindfulness training, by improving attentional control, may facilitate the ability to shift attention to other distracting areas.

 

It is not known whether these effects of mindfulness training are lasting and may influence the students’ abilities to deal with the stresses of teaching in the future. It would be hoped that mindfulness training may help to prepare prospective teachers to effectively work with the emotions that arise from their profession. This would then improve their resistance to professional burnout. It remains for future research to investigate the longevity of the emotion regulation improvements.

 

So, improve emotion regulation in teacher trainees with mindfulness.

 

our emotions don’t have to take over your life or interfere with your important relationships when you learn how to understand, manage, and respond to your emotions more effectively. Become mindful of your own personal tendencies and emotional triggers. Notice what situations tend to prompt emotional responses in you. When you increase self-knowledge in this way, you are better prepared to competently and confidently employ emotion regulation coping skills no matter what the situation.” – Laura Chang

 

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

 

Wimmer, L., von Stockhausen, L., & Bellingrath, S. (2019). Improving emotion regulation and mood in teacher trainees: Effectiveness of two mindfulness trainings. Brain and behavior, 9(9), e01390. doi:10.1002/brb3.1390

 

Abstract

Background/Objective

The present research investigated potential effects of mindfulness training on emotion regulation and mood of future schoolteachers in a nonrandomized pre–post design, and whether these are influenced by the yoga component of mindfulness‐based stress reduction (MBSR) and/or by homework practice.

Method

N = 169 university students received either mindfulness training (experimental groups), awareness activities (active control group), or no training (passive control group), in the context of university seminars. Allocation to groups was bound by the seminar chosen by participants, and in that sense was self‐selected. Mindfulness was trained in two adapted MBSR courses, one of which including yoga, and the other excluding yoga.

Results

Specific benefits of both mindfulness training groups were observed for emotion regulation in terms of an increase in cognitive reappraisal and a reduction in symptom‐focused rumination as well as depressive mood. No benefits of mindfulness training were observed for reductions in expressive suppression, self‐focused rumination, anxious, and negative mood or an increase in distraction and positive mood respectively. Mindfulness training with and without yoga was mostly equally effective. Outcomes were largely not moderated by practice quantity or quality, but reductions in depressive mood were mediated by gains in reappraisal and distraction.

Conclusions

Mindfulness training can be implemented in the context of university seminars to foster advantageous emotion regulation strategies and lower depressive mood in future schoolteachers. Discontinuing yoga within mindfulness interventions does not seem to reduce training benefits.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6749600/

 

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/

 

Reduce Stress and Improve the Psychological Health of Teachers with Mindfulness

Reduce Stress and Improve the Psychological Health of Teachers with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness training for teachers can help them cope better with stress on the job while also making the classroom environment more productive for learning.” – Jill Suttie

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This often produces burnout; fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and professional inefficacy. Teachers experience burnout at high rates. Roughly a half a million teachers out of a workforce of three million, leave the profession each year and the rate is almost double in poor schools compared to affluent schools. Indeed, nearly half of new teachers leave in their first five years.

 

Burnout frequently results from emotional exhaustion. This exhaustion not only affects the teachers personally, but also the students, as it produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion. Regardless of the reasons for burnout or its immediate presenting consequences, it is a threat to schools and their students. In fact, it is a threat to the entire educational systems as it contributes to the shortage of teachers. Hence, methods of reducing stress and improving teacher psychological health needs to be studied.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mixed-methods evaluation comparing the impact of two different mindfulness approaches on stress, anxiety and depression in school teachers.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6615820/), Todd and colleagues recruited primary and secondary school teachers who were attending mindfulness courses of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or .b Foundations. The MBSR program consists of 8 weekly 2-hour group sessions involving meditation, yoga, body scan, and discussion. The teachers are also encouraged to perform daily practice. The .b Foundations program consists of 8 weekly 1.5-hour group sessions involving mindfulness training in a classroom setting. The teachers are similarly encouraged to perform daily practice. They were measured before and after training for anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and completed semi-structured interviews.

 

They found that teachers who participated in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program had significant reductions in anxiety, depression, and perceived stress, while the teachers who participated in the .b Foundations program had significant reductions in anxiety and perceived stress, but not depression. The qualitative interviews revealed that both programs were found to be acceptable and a good experience and having profound impacts with no significant differences between the programs.

 

The weaknesses of this study were that there wasn’t a no-treatment or active control group and participants were not randomly assigned to conditions. As such the benefits of the training could have been due to subject expectancy effects, Hawthorne effects, experimenter bias, or just the effects of attending a social group for 8 weeks. But a large number of previous better controlled studies have shown that mindfulness training improves anxiety, depression, and perceived stress. So, it is likely that the reductions seen in the present study were due to the mindfulness training.

 

So, reduce stress and improve the psychological health of teachers with mindfulness.

 

“When administrators call you, you never know what they want. It could be a parent is upset with you, or you forgot something. I used to rush to meetings, grab a seat, and jump in. Now, I practice mindful walking. I think about where I’m going. When I arrive, I’m not revved up. I’m able to receive criticism or conversation without being triggered.” – Nicole Willheimer

 

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

 

Todd, C., Cooksey, R., Davies, H., McRobbie, C., & Brophy, S. (2019). Mixed-methods evaluation comparing the impact of two different mindfulness approaches on stress, anxiety and depression in school teachers. BMJ open9(7), e025686. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-025686

 

Strengths and limitations of this study

  • This study is unique as there are currently no published studies comparing the two mindfulness courses in terms of acceptability, experience and effects on stress, anxiety and depression, despite current roll-out.
  • Strengths lie in the mixed-methods approach used to explore differences between .b and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.
  • Limitations lie in the numbers lost to follow-up, with future research needed to explore this further.

Abstract

Objectives

This study compared the impact of two different 8-week mindfulness based courses (.b Foundations and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)), delivered to school teachers, on quantitative (stress, anxiety and depression) and qualitative (experience, acceptability and implementation) outcomes.

Design

A mixed-methods design was employed. Matched-paired t-tests were used to examine change from baseline, with imputation conducted to account for those lost to follow-up. Qualitative methods involved 1:1 semistructured interviews (n=10). Thematic analysis was used to explore differences in experience between courses.

Setting

Courses took place in UK primary schools or nearby leisure centres, 1:1 interviews took place via telephone.

Participants

44/69 teachers from schools in the UK were recruited from their attendance at mindfulness courses (.b and MBSR).

Interventions

Participants attended either an MBSR (experiential style learning, 2 hours per week) or .b Foundations (more classroom focused learning, 1.5 hours per week) 8-week mindfulness course.

Outcome measures

Stress (Perceived Stress Scale), anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) were evaluated in both groups at baseline (n=44), end of intervention (n=32) and 3-month follow-up (n=19).

Results

Both courses were associated with significant reductions in stress (.b 6.38; 95% CI 1.74 to 11.02; MBSR 9.69; 95% CI 4.9 to 14.5) and anxiety (.b 3.36; 95% CI 1.69 to 5.0; MBSR 4.06; 95% CI 2.6 to 5.5). MBSR was associated with improved depression outcomes (4.3; 95% CI 2.5 to 6.11). No differences were found in terms of experience and acceptability. Four main themes were identified including preconceptions, factors influencing delivery, perceived impact and training desires/practical application.

Conclusion

.b Foundations appears as beneficial as MBSR in anxiety and stress reduction but MBSR may be more appropriate for depression. Consideration over implementation factors may largely improve the acceptability of mindfulness courses for teachers. Further research with larger samples is needed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6615820/

 

Lower College Student Stress Levels and Increase Self-Compassion with a Mindfulness Mobile App

Lower College Student Stress Levels and Increase Self-Compassion with a Mindfulness Mobile App

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness intervention can help reduce distress levels in college students during a stressful exam week, as well as increase altruistic action in the form of donating to charity.” – AMRA

 

In the modern world education is a key for success. Where a high school education was sufficient in previous generations, a college degree is now required to succeed in the new knowledge-based economies. There is a lot of pressure on students to excel so that they can get the best jobs after graduation. This stress might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can actually lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s physical and mental health, well-being, and school performance. It is, for the most part, beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the college students’ responses to stress; to make them more resilient when high levels of stress occur.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with the physical and psychological reactions to stress and resilience in the face of stress. The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a trained therapist. This results in costs that many college students can’t afford. In addition, the participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their busy college schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, Apps for smartphones have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But the question arises as to the effectiveness of these Apps in inducing mindfulness and reducing stress levels in college students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Efficacy of the Mindfulness Meditation Mobile App “Calm” to Reduce Stress Among College Students: Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6614998/), Huberty and colleagues recruited stressed college students and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list control condition or to receive 8 weeks of mindfulness training including 10 minutes of meditation per day via a smartphone app (“Calm”). They were measured before and after training and 4 weeks later for perceived stress, mindfulness, self-compassion, and health behaviors including sleep disturbance, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and fruit and vegetable consumption.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the groups that received the smartphone app mindfulness training had significantly higher levels of self-compassion and mindfulness, including all facets of mindfulness, and significantly lower levels of perceived stress with moderate to large effect sizes. They also found that these benefits persisted 4 weeks after the end of training.

 

The findings of strong effects are important as they suggest that the smartphone app produces effects similar to those of in person trainings on perceived stress and self-compassion. These are important benefits for college students, helping to relieve their stress and hopefully improve their performance in college. Additionally, smartphone apps can be distributed widely at low cost and practice can occur at the convenience of the participant. So, these apps may be a vehicle to expand the benefits of mindfulness practice to not only college students but also to the wider population.

 

So, lower college student stress levels and increase self-compassion with a mindfulness mobile app.

 

“studies have demonstrated that mindfulness can be an effective skill for reducing anxiety and stress, controlling attentional distractions and improving overall psychological well-being.” – Braver

 

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

 

Huberty, J., Green, J., Glissmann, C., Larkey, L., Puzia, M., & Lee, C. (2019). Efficacy of the Mindfulness Meditation Mobile App “Calm” to Reduce Stress Among College Students: Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 7(6), e14273. doi:10.2196/14273

 

Abstract

Background

College students experience high levels of stress. Mindfulness meditation delivered via a mobile app may be an appealing, efficacious way to reduce stress in college students.

Objective

We aimed to test the initial efficacy and sustained effects of an 8-week mindfulness meditation mobile app—Calm—compared to a wait-list control on stress, mindfulness, and self-compassion in college students with elevated stress. We also explored the intervention’s effect on health behaviors (ie, sleep disturbance, alcohol consumption [binge drinking], physical activity, and healthy eating [fruit and vegetable consumption]) and the feasibility and acceptability of the app.

Methods

This study was a randomized, wait-list, control trial with assessments at baseline, postintervention (8 weeks), and at follow-up (12 weeks). Participants were eligible if they were current full-time undergraduate students and (1) at least 18 years of age, (2) scored ≥14 points on the Perceived Stress Scale, (3) owned a smartphone, (4) were willing to download the Calm app, (5) were willing to be randomized, and (7) were able to read and understand English. Participants were asked to meditate using Calm at least 10 minutes per day. A P value ≤.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results

A total of 88 participants were included in the analysis. The mean age (SD) was 20.41 (2.31) years for the intervention group and 21.85 (6.3) years for the control group. There were significant differences in all outcomes (stress, mindfulness, and self-compassion) between the intervention and control groups after adjustment for covariates postintervention (all P<.04). These effects persisted at follow-up (all P<.03), except for the nonreacting subscale of mindfulness (P=.08). There was a significant interaction between group and time factors in perceived stress (P=.002), mindfulness (P<.001), and self-compassion (P<.001). Bonferroni posthoc tests showed significant within-group mean differences for perceived stress in the intervention group (P<.001), while there were no significant within-group mean differences in the control group (all P>.19). Similar results were found for mindfulness and self-compassion. Effect sizes ranged from moderate (0.59) to large (1.24) across all outcomes. A significant group×time interaction in models of sleep disturbance was found, but no significant effects were found for other health behaviors. The majority of students in the intervention group reported that Calm was helpful to reduce stress and stated they would use Calm in the future. The majority were satisfied using Calm and likely to recommend it to other college students. The intervention group participated in meditation for an average of 38 minutes/week during the intervention and 20 minutes/week during follow-up.

Conclusions

Calm is an effective modality to deliver mindfulness meditation in order to reduce stress and improve mindfulness and self-compassion in stressed college students. Our findings provide important information that can be applied to the design of future studies or mental health resources in university programs.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6614998/

 

Increase Positive Emotions and Decrease Emotional Disturbance in Adolescents with Meditation

Increase Positive Emotions and Decrease Emotional Disturbance in Adolescents with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Adolescence is a time of change and growth. It is the period of life reserved for rebellion and self-discovery, but as the demands in life increase for teens, this time is often fraught with confusion, anxiety or depression. For many teens these challenges lead to disconnection and isolation.” – Making Friends with Yourself

 

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.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown in adolescents to improve emotion regulation and to benefit the psychological and emotional health. Since adolescent girls are more likely to have emotional issues than boys, it would seem reasonable to hypothesize that mindfulness would have greater psychological benefits for adolescent girls than for boys.

 

In today’s Research News article “Gender differences in response to a school-based mindfulness training intervention for early adolescents.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6174072/), Kang and colleagues recruited male and female 6th grade students and randomly assigned them to receive a school-based, 6-week program, 4-5 times per week for, on average, 5 minutes per day of either guided meditations or brief lessons on African history. Before and after training the students were measured for global emotional disturbance, positive emotions, mindfulness, and self-compassion.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the active controls, the adolescents who meditated had significantly higher positive emotions and significantly lower global emotional disturbance. For males there were significant increases in positive emotions for both groups while for females there were significant increases in positive emotions only for the meditation group. A similar trend was present for global emotional disturbance. In addition, they found that for females the higher the levels of self-compassion the higher the levels of positive emotions and the lower the levels of global emotional disturbance. This was not true for males.

 

The results appear to show that meditation training is particularly effective in improving emotions in female but not male adolescents. But the difference was not in the meditation condition but rather in the control condition. Whereas the female controls did not show any improvement in emotions while the meditation group improved. For the males, both groups improved. So, both males and female adolescents had improved emotions following 6-weeks of meditation practice. Adolescents is a turbulent time with strong emotions. The present results suggest that providing meditation training in school may be helpful in controlling and leveling these emotions.

 

So, increase positive emotions and decrease emotional disturbance in adolescents with meditation.

 

“Adolescence is a developmental moment of peak stress, and a teen’s heightened self-consciousness (“Do I look weird? Did I just sound stupid in class?”) cranks up the volume of the inner critic. Self-compassion encourages mindfulness, or noticing your feelings without judgment; self-kindness, or talking to yourself in a soothing way; and common humanity, or thinking about how others might be suffering similarly.” – Rachel Simmons

 

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

 

Kang, Y., Rahrig, H., Eichel, K., Niles, H. F., Rocha, T., Lepp, N. E., … Britton, W. B. (2018). Gender differences in response to a school-based mindfulness training intervention for early adolescents. Journal of school psychology, 68, 163–176. doi:10.1016/j.jsp.2018.03.004

 

Abstract

Mindfulness training has been used to improve emotional wellbeing in early adolescents. However, little is known about treatment outcome moderators, or individual differences that may differentially impact responses to treatment. The current study focused on gender as a potential moderator for affective outcomes in response to school-based mindfulness training. Sixth grade students (N = 100) were randomly assigned to either the six weeks of mindfulness meditation or the active control group as part of a history class curriculum. Participants in the mindfulness meditation group completed short mindfulness meditation sessions four to five times per week, in addition to didactic instruction (Asian history). The control group received matched experiential activity in addition to didactic instruction (African history) from the same teacher with no meditation component. Self-reported measures of emotional wellbeing/affect, mindfulness, and self-compassion were obtained at pre and post intervention. Meditators reported greater improvement in emotional wellbeing compared to those in the control group. Importantly, gender differences were detected, such that female meditators reported greater increases in positive affect compared to females in the control group, whereas male meditators and control males displayed equivalent gains. Uniquely among females but not males, increases in self-reported self-compassion were associated with improvements in affect. These findings support the efficacy of school-based mindfulness interventions, and interventions tailored to accommodate distinct developmental needs of female and male adolescents.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6174072/

 

Reduce Teacher Stress and Burnout with Mindfulness

Reduce Teacher Stress and Burnout with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness programs in the workplace may help employees better deal with stress, and develop the ability to observe negative emotions and automatic thought patterns and behaviors, and remain calm, present, self-aware and alert, rather than succumbing to the slippery slope of negative emotions.” – B. Grace Bullock

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This often produces burnout; fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and professional inefficacy. Teachers experience burnout at high rates. Roughly a half a million teachers out of a workforce of three million, leave the profession each year and the rate is almost double in poor schools compared to affluent schools. Indeed, nearly half of new teachers leave in their first five years.

 

Burnout frequently results from emotional exhaustion. This exhaustion not only affects the teachers personally, but also the students, as it produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion. Regardless of the reasons for burnout or its immediate presenting consequences, it is a threat to schools and their students. In fact, it is a threat to the entire educational systems as it contributes to the shortage of teachers. Hence, preventing burnout has to be a priority.

Mindfulness has been demonstrated to be helpful in treating and preventing burnout.

 

In today’s Research News article “Can mindfulness mitigate the energy-depleting process and increase job resources to prevent burnout? A study on the mindfulness trait in the school context.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6448859/), Guidetti and colleagues examine the relationship of mindfulness to teacher burnout. They recruited primary, middle, and secondary school teachers and had them complete questionnaires measuring teacher mindfulness, teacher stress, meaningfulness of work, and burnout, including emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization.

 

They found significant relationships between mindfulness and the psychological state of the teachers with the higher the teacher’s levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of stress, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization and the higher the levels of meaningfulness of work. A confirmatory factor analysis revealed that mindfulness was related to burnout (both emotional exhaustion and depersonalization) both directly and indirectly. High levels of mindfulness not only were directly related to burnout but also indirectly by being related to lower levels of stress and higher levels of meaningfulness of work which in turn were related to lower levels of burnout.

 

These results are correlational, so caution must be exercised in inferring causation. Previous research, however, has clearly demonstrated that mindfulness training results in decreased burnout in multiple occupations. So, it is likely that mindfulness is the cause of the lower levels of burnout observed in the current study with teachers. The current results show how mindfulness is related to lower teacher burnout. It does so both directly and indirectly through its relationships with stress and meaningfulness of work.

 

So, reduce teacher stress and burnout with mindfulness.

 

“when teachers practice mindfulness, students’ misbehavior and other stressors become like water off a duck’s back, allowing them to stay focused on what teachers really want to do: teach.” – Vicki Zakrzewski 

 

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

 

Guidetti, G., Viotti, S., Badagliacca, R., Colombo, L., & Converso, D. (2019). Can mindfulness mitigate the energy-depleting process and increase job resources to prevent burnout? A study on the mindfulness trait in the school context. PloS one, 14(4), e0214935. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0214935

 

Abstract

Background

Past studies in the teaching context provided evidence of the role of mindfulness-based intervention in improving occupational wellbeing. This study aims to increase the extant knowledge by testing the mechanism that links teachers’ mindfulness at work to occupational wellbeing. Rooted in the job demand–resource model, the mindfulness trait is conceptualized as a personal resource that has the ability to impact and interact with job demands and resources, specifically workload stress appraisal and perceived meaningfulness of work, in affecting teachers’ burnout.

Methods

A sample of primary, middle, and secondary school teachers (N = 605) completed a questionnaire that aimed to assess teachers’ mindfulness trait and the measures of the quality of occupational life in the school context. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted to test the model fit indices; further analyses were performed to test the hypotheses about mediation and moderation effects.

Results

The CFA showed good model fit indices. Further analyses highlighted that teachers’ mindfulness is negatively associated with workload stress appraisal and that positively influenced work meaning, in turn mediating the relationship between mindfulness and burnout. Finally, mindfulness moderated the effect of workload stress appraisal on burnout.

Conclusions

Rooted in the job demand–resource model, this study emphasizes an underrepresented personal resource, that is, the mindfulness trait at work, and the links that favor its impact on burnout. Practical and future research implications are also discussed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6448859/

 

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

 

Reduce Stress and Enhance Academic Buoyancy in Adolescents with Online Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Reduce Stress and Enhance Academic Buoyancy in Adolescents with Online Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

 

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

 

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.

 

Mindfulness training in adults has been shown in adolescents to improve emotion regulation and to benefit the psychological and emotional health. A therapeutic technique that contains mindfulness training is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that is employs many of the techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). ACT focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes.

 

The original form of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), however, required a certified trained therapist. This resulted in costs that many clients couldn’t afford. In addition, the participants had to be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that were not always compatible with busy schedules and at locations that were not always convenient. As an alternative, mindfulness-based treatments delivered over the internet have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But the question arises as to the effectiveness of ACT for adolescents when delivered over the internet.

 

In today’s Research News article “Reducing Stress and Enhancing Academic Buoyancy among Adolescents Using a Brief Web-based Program Based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6394525/ ), Puolakanaho and colleagues recruited adolescents in the 9th grade and randomly assigned them to receive a 5-week online program of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) or to a no-treatment control condition. They were measured before and after the program for academic skills, reading fluency, math skills, stress, school stress, and academic buoyancy. Academic buoyancy “refers to a student’s capacity to overcome everyday academic life setbacks and challenges successfully.”

 

They found that 76% of the participants completed the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) program. They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment controls that ACT produced a significant reduction in overall stress levels and a significant increase in academic buoyancy. These findings suggest that ACT can be taught online to adolescents and successfully promote their ability to withstand the stress of adolescence and to promote their ability to overcome the challenges of school.

 

So, reduce stress and enhance academic buoyancy in adolescents with online acceptance and commitment therapy.

 

mindfulness is uniquely able to help adolescents navigate this time of growing autonomy, more complicated life challenges and heightened reactivity to stressors in their lives.” – Karen Pace

 

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

 

Puolakanaho, A., Lappalainen, R., Lappalainen, P., Muotka, J. S., Hirvonen, R., Eklund, K. M., Ahonen, T., … Kiuru, N. (2018). Reducing Stress and Enhancing Academic Buoyancy among Adolescents Using a Brief Web-based Program Based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of youth and adolescence, 48(2), 287-305.

 

Abstract

Acceptance and commitment therapy programs have rarely been used as preventive tools for alleviating stress and enhancing coping skills among adolescents. This randomized controlled trial examined the efficacy of a novel Finnish web- and mobile-delivered five-week intervention program called Youth COMPASS among a general sample of ninth-grade adolescents (n= 249, 49% females). The intervention group showed a small but significant decrease in overall stress (between-group Cohen’s d = 0.22) and an increase in academic buoyancy (d= 0.27). Academic skills did not influence the intervention gains, but the intervention gains were largest among high-stressed participants. The results suggest that the acceptance and commitment based Youth COMPASS program may be well suited for promoting adolescents’ well-being in the school context.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6394525/

 

Increase Wellness and Decrease Burnout in Medical Students with Mindfulness

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Increase Wellness and Decrease Burnout in Medical Students with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“training in mindfulness – focusing controlled attention on physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions in the present moment – helps students to acknowledge and process the stresses and strains of their work.” – Cathy Kerr

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. Currently, over a third of healthcare workers report that they are looking for a new job. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout, in fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system as it contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses.

 

Preventing burnout has to be a priority. Unfortunately, it is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress and prevent burnout, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. It would be best to provide techniques to combat burnout early in a medical career. Medical School is extremely stressful and many students show distress and express burnout symptoms. Medical school may be an ideal time to intervene.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Targeted Mindfulness Curriculum for Medical Students During Their Emergency Medicine Clerkship Experience.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6040904/ ), Chung and colleagues in an uncontrolled pilot study delivered a mindfulness curriculum to students during their training in emergency medicine. The training was delivered in 4-weekly 60 minute sessions that included meditation practice, readings, journaling, discussion, and developing a personal wellness plan. They completed questionnaires before and after the 4 weeks of training and 6 months later regarding the impact of the training on their behavior and attitudes.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline, after training there were significant improvements in self-reported behaviors and attitudes. The students reported increased confidence in their ability to meditate and be mindful, explain these skills to others, and recommend these practices to others. They also reported that they practiced meditation and mindfulness more often and talked to others about these practices. In addition, they reported that wellness was important to medical students and that they were using their own wellness plan. Importantly, these improvements were still present 6 months after the completion of the training.

 

These are very preliminary results from an uncontrolled pilot study and need to be verified in a randomized controlled trial with objective measures of wellness and resistance to stress. Previous controlled studies, however, have shown that mindfulness training is effective in treating and preventing burnout and reducing the psychological and physiological responses to stress. So, these present results are suggestive that this simple brief curriculum may produce similar benefits.

 

It is important to use a brief training and this one only involved 4 hours of formal instruction. Medical students have a vast amount of important information to learn and master in a limited amount of time. They do not have the luxury of unused time for extensive instruction. So, a brief training that produces positive results that persist could be very valuable to their health and well-being during this stressful time and during a stressful career.

 

So, increase wellness and decrease burnout in medical students with mindfulness.

 

“I have taken my own advice. I am still at it: sitting on the deck, focusing on my breath, watching my thoughts, clearing my mind amid the shrill end-of-summer calls of the cicadas. I think I have noticed an effect — I feel a deeper sense of acceptance in my life, without losing a passion or resolve to change things for the better.” – Manoj Jain

 

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

 

Chung, A. S., Felber, R., Han, E., Mathew, T., Rebillot, K., & Likourezos, A. (2018). A Targeted Mindfulness Curriculum for Medical Students During Their Emergency Medicine Clerkship Experience. The western journal of emergency medicine, 19(4), 762-766.

 

Abstract

Introduction

Despite high rates of burnout in senior medical students, many schools provide the majority of their wellness training during the first and second preclinical years. Students planning a career in emergency medicine (EM) may be at particularly high risk of burnout, given that EM has one of the highest burnout rates of all the specialties in the United States We developed an innovative, mindfulness-based curriculum designed to be integrated into a standard EM clerkship for senior medical students to help students manage stress and reduce their risk of burnout.

Methods

The curriculum included these components: (1) four, once-weekly, 60-minute classroom sessions; (2) prerequisite reading assignments; (3) individual daily meditation practice and journaling; and (4) the development of a personalized wellness plan with the help of a mentor. The design was based on self-directed learning theory and focused on building relatedness, competence, and autonomy to help cultivate mindfulness.

Results

Thirty students participated in the curriculum; 20 were included in the final analysis. Each student completed surveys prior to, immediately after, and six months after participation in the curriculum. We found significant changes in the self-reported behaviors and attitudes of the students immediately following participation in the curriculum, which were sustained up to six months later.

Conclusion

Although this was a pilot study, our pilot curriculum had a significantly sustained self-reported behavioral impact on our students. In the future, this intervention could easily be adapted for any four-week rotation during medical school to reduce burnout and increase physician wellness.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6040904/