Improve Parent Well-Being and Child Behavior with Mindfulness

Improve Parent Well-Being and Child Behavior 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.” – 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 has been accumulating. So, it’s important to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindful Parent Training for Parents of Children Aged 3-12 Years with Behavioral Problems: a Scoping Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8741537/ ) Donovan and colleagues review and summarize the published research findings of the effects of mindful parenting training on the parents and their children. They identified 16 published studies.

 

They report that in general mindful parenting programs produce small but significant improvements in the parenting style and parent’s levels of mindfulness and perceived stress and improvements in their children’s externalizing behavior. Hence, mindful parenting training improves family life including the parent’s well being and the children’s problem behaviors.

 

Parenting kids with special needs can be even more stressful, and it can cause anxiety, depression and marital problems. A mindfulness practice can help alleviate stress and prevent these problems. And it can make you a better parent.” – Juliann Garey

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Donovan, M. O., Pickard, J. A., Herbert, J. S., & Barkus, E. (2022). Mindful Parent Training for Parents of Children Aged 3-12 Years with Behavioral Problems: a Scoping Review. Mindfulness, 1–20. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01799-y

 

Abstract

Objectives

While mindfulness-based parenting programs (MPPs) are increasingly popular for reducing child behavior problems, the evidence for the advantages of MPP over existing behavioral parent training is unclear. Existing systematic reviews have largely excluded the breadth of MPP protocols, including those that integrate behavioral skills components. Therefore, a scoping review was conducted to map the nature and extent of research on MPPs for parents of children aged 3 to 12 years with behavioral problems.

Methods

PRISMA-ScR guidelines were used to conduct an encompassing peer literature review of cross-disciplinary databases. Studies were included if they reported mindfulness interventions for parents of children aged between 3 and 12 years with externalizing behavior problems and had an outcome measure of child behavioral problems that could be represented as an effect size. Randomized controlled trials as well as quasi-experimental, pre-post studies and unpublished dissertations were included.

Results

Sixteen studies met the inclusion criteria (N = 1362). The majority of MPPs delivered mindfulness adapted to parenting based on the Bögels’ protocol within clinical settings. There was a dearth of fully integrated mindfulness and behavioral programs. MPPs generally produced pre-to-post-intervention improvements with small effect sizes across child behavior and parent style, stress, and mindfulness measures. Examining longer follow-up periods compared to pre-intervention, effects reached a moderate size across most outcome measures.

Conclusions

MPPs continue to show promise in improving child behavior and parental mindfulness, well-being, and style. Further research is needed to determine how to best leverage the advantages of mindfulness in augmenting the well-established effectiveness of behavioral programs.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8741537/

 

Improve Psychological Well-Being of Elementary School Children with Mindfulness

Improve Psychological Well-Being of Elementary School Children with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“engaging in mindfulness meditation cultivates our ability to both focus and broaden our attention, which is a practical way to elicit psychological well-being.” – Jennifer Wolkin

 

Childhood is a miraculous period during which the child is dynamically absorbing information from every aspect of its environment. This is particularly evident during the elementary school years. Mindfulness training in school has been shown to have very positive effects. These include improvements in the cognitive, psychological, emotional and social domains. It is important to teach skills that improve well-being early in life. This can affect individuals throughout their lives. So, there is a need to further study the ability of mindfulness training to improve the well-being of elementary school students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Randomized Trial on the Effects of a Mindfulness Intervention on Temperament, Anxiety, and Depression: A Multi-Arm Psychometric Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8945710/ ) Poli and colleagues recruited 5th grade students. They were measured before and after either 8 weeks of mindfulness training or no treatment for anxiety depression, and temperament.

 

They found that mindfulness training reduced anxiety levels and inhibition to novelty and increased attention, social orientation, positive emotionality. These results suggest that mindfulness training improves the psychological well-being of elementary school children.

 

Mindfulness improves the well-being of kids.

 

mental wellbeing does not mean being happy all the time and it does not mean you won’t experience negative or painful emotions, such as grief, loss, or failure, which are a part of normal life. However, whatever your age, mindfulness can help you lead a mentally healthier life and improve your wellbeing.” – Mental Health Foundation

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Poli, A., Maremmani, A., Gemignani, A., & Miccoli, M. (2022). Randomized Trial on the Effects of a Mindfulness Intervention on Temperament, Anxiety, and Depression: A Multi-Arm Psychometric Study. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland), 12(3), 74. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs12030074

 

Abstract

Mindfulness is a mental state that can be achieved through meditation. So far, studies have shown that practicing mindfulness on a consistent and regular basis can improve attentional functions and emotional well-being. Mindfulness has recently begun to be used in the field of child development. The goal of this study is to assess if a mindfulness program may help primary school students in reducing anxiety and depression while also improving their temperamental characteristics. This multi-arm pre-post study included 41 subjects recruited in the fifth year of two primary school classes. Participants were randomly assigned to the experimental and control groups. The experimental group, but not the control group, underwent an eight-week mindfulness training. Every week, the program included 60-min group sessions. QUIT (Italian Questionnaires of Temperament) and TAD (Test for Anxiety and Depression in Childhood and Adolescence) were used to assess temperament, and anxiety and depression, respectively. Both groups were administered both instruments before and after mindfulness intervention. The mindfulness program lowered anxiety levels and was effective in changing temperament dimensions: there was an increase in social orientation (SO), positive emotionality (PE), and attention (AT), as well as a decrease in inhibition to novelty (IN) and negative emotionality. Path analysis revealed that AT may promote the improvement of both SO and IN. Similarly, PE may be promoted by the decrease of IN. Clinical implications are discussed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8945710/

 

Reduce the Depressive Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences with Mindfulness

Reduce the Depressive Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness instruction may mitigate the negative effects of stress and trauma related to adverse childhood exposures, improving short- and long-term outcomes, and potentially reducing poor health outcomes in adulthood.” – Robin Ortiz

 

Childhood trauma can leave in its wake symptoms which can haunt the victims for the rest of their lives. These include persistent recurrent re-experiencing of the traumatic event, including flashbacks and nightmares, loss of interest in life, detachment from other people, increased depression, anxiety and emotional arousal, including outbursts of anger, difficulty concentration, and jumpiness, startling easily. Unfortunately, childhood maltreatment can continue to affect mental and physical health throughout the individual’s life. How individuals cope with childhood maltreatment helps determine the effects of the maltreatment on their mental health.

 

It has been found that experiencing the feelings and thoughts produced by trauma completely, allows for better coping. This can be provided by mindfulness. Indeed, mindfulness has been found to be effective for relieving trauma symptoms. But it is not known how mindfulness interacts with adverse childhood experiences to impact psychological well-being later on.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness as a mediator and moderator in the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and depression.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8215089/ ) McKeen and colleagues recruited college students and had them complete measures of mindfulness, adverse childhood experiences, and depression. Adverse childhood experiences included instances of physical or emotional abuse and family dysfunction. Of the students 71% reported some form of adverse childhood experiences.

 

They found that the greater the adverse childhood experiences the higher the levels of depression and the lower the levels of mindfulness, especially the describing, acting with awareness, and non-judging facets. They also found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of depression. Further they found that mindfulness moderated the relationship of adverse childhood experiences with depression such that the greater the level of adverse childhood experiences the lower the levels of mindfulness and in turn the lower the levels of depression.

 

The results of the present study are correlational and so no conclusions can be reached regarding causation. Previous research by others, however, has demonstrated a causal connection between mindfulness and lower depression. So, the observed relationship here is likely due to mindfulness causing a reduction in depression.

 

It has also been previously observed that adverse childhood experiences are associated with lower mindfulness and well-being.  What is new here is the demonstration that adverse childhood experiences are linked to depression by reduced mindfulness. This suggests that mindfulness training may be a means to reduce depression caused by adverse childhood experiences.

 

So, reduce the depressive effects of adverse childhood experiences with mindfulness.

 

Numerous studies support the use of mindfulness as an effective intervention for youth exposed to trauma.” – Jennifer Peterson

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

McKeen, H., Hook, M., Podduturi, P., Beitzell, E., Jones, A., & Liss, M. (2021). Mindfulness as a mediator and moderator in the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and depression. Current psychology (New Brunswick, N.J.), 1–11. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-02003-z

 

Abstract

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been associated with a variety of negative physical and psychological health outcomes. The mechanisms by which this occurs and potential protective factors present in this relationship are understudied. Mindfulness is a cognitive resource that may protect individuals against symptoms of psychological distress. It has five core facets and encourages a nonjudgmental acceptance of the present moment. The purpose of this study was to explore the role of mindfulness in the relationship between ACEs and depression, both as a mediator and as a moderator, or protective factor. We hypothesized that the aware, describe, and non-judgement facets of mindfulness would be key factors in both sets of analyses. Participants at a university (N = 279) were given the Five Factor Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), the Adverse Childhood Experiences Scale (ACES), and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-8) to measure depression. Results indicated that the describe CI [.02, .11], aware CI [.05, .17], and non-judgement CI [.06, .18] facets of mindfulness significantly mediated the relationship between ACEs and depression. Additionally, the aware facet of mindfulness was also a significant moderator in this relationship, [t (interaction) = −3.22, p < 0.01], such that individuals with a high level of awareness had no increase in depression even as the number of ACEs increased. Negative cognitions associated with ACEs may harm one’s ability to effectively describe their feelings and to be fully aware of the present moment, which may contribute to symptoms of depression. Implications for mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are discussed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8215089/

 

Improve Cognitive and Socio-Emotional Skills in Children with Mindfulness

Improve Cognitive and Socio-Emotional Skills in Children with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Teaching mindfulness to kids can also help shape three critical skills developed in early childhood: paying attention and remembering information, shifting back and forth between tasks, and behaving appropriately with others.” – Christopher Willard

 

Childhood is a miraculous period during which the child is dynamically absorbing information from every aspect of its environment. This is particularly evident during the elementary school years. Mindfulness training in school has been shown to have very positive effects. These include improvements in the cognitive, psychological, emotional and social domains. Importantly, mindfulness training in school appears to improve attentional ability which is fundamental to success in all aspects of academic performance. The research evidence has been accumulating. So, there is a need to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Exploring the Effects of Meditation Techniques Used by Mindfulness-Based Programs on the Cognitive, Social-Emotional, and Academic Skills of Children: A Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660650/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1778822_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211123_arts_A ) Filipe and colleagues review and summarize the published controlled research studies on the effects of mindfulness training on 6-12 year old children. They found 29 published research articles.

 

They report that the published research found that mindfulness training produced significant improvements in the children’s cognitive skills, including overall executive functions, attention, concentration, inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, and immediate auditory-verbal memory. They also found that there were significant improvements in socio-emotional skills, including stress, wellbeing, mindfulness, self-esteem, resilience, psychological happiness, empathy, perspective-taking, emotional control, optimism, depression, internalizing problems, peer aggression, prosocial behavior, peer acceptance, anxiety, self-control, self-regulation, mental health problems, quality of life, self-compassion, acceptance, relaxation, happiness, aggressive behaviors, and social competence. But only one of the 29 studies reported improvements in academic skills.

 

The published research makes a strong case for the effectiveness of mindfulness training to improve the cognitive and socio-emotional skills on children. But there is little evidence for improvement in academic performance. Unfortunately, only 9 of the 29 studies employed strong research designs (randomized controlled trails). So, there is a need for further research with high quality research designs. Nevertheless, the consistency and magnitude of the findings suggest robust positive effects of mindfulness trainings on a myriad of cognitive, social, and emotional skills in children. These are important benefits for these developing humans that may have important contributions to their growth and well-being, perhaps eventually making them better adults. As such, mindfulness training should be incorporated into the school curriculum.

 

So, improve cognitive and socio-emotional skills in children 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 available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Filipe MG, Magalhães S, Veloso AS, Costa AF, Ribeiro L, Araújo P, Castro SL and Limpo T (2021) Exploring the Effects of Meditation Techniques Used by Mindfulness-Based Programs on the Cognitive, Social-Emotional, and Academic Skills of Children: A Systematic Review. Front. Psychol. 12:660650. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660650

 

There is evidence for the positive impact of mindfulness in children. However, little is known about the techniques through which mindfulness practice results in differential outcomes. Therefore, this study intended to systematically review the available evidence about the efficacy of meditation techniques used by mindfulness-based programs on cognitive, socio-emotional, and academic skills of children from 6 to 12 years of age. The review was registered on the PROSPERO database, and the literature search was conducted according to PICO criteria and PRISMA guidelines. The EBSCO databases were searched, and 29 studies were eligible: nine randomized controlled trials and 20 quasi-experimental studies. All the included randomized controlled trials were rated as having a high risk of bias. Overall, the evidence for mindfulness techniques improving cognitive and socio-emotional skills was reasonably strong. Specifically, for cognitive skills, results showed that all the interventions used “body-centered meditations” and “mindful observations.” Regarding socio-emotional skills, although all the studies applied “body-centered meditations” and “mindful observations,” “affect-centered meditations” were also frequent. For academic skills, just one quasi-experimental trial found improvements, thus making it difficult to draw conclusions. Further research is crucial to evaluate the unique effects of different meditation techniques on the cognitive, social-emotional, and academic skills of children.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660650/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1778822_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211123_arts_A

Enhance Spatial Cognition in Younger Children with Movement Meditation and Creativity with Sitting Meditation in Older Children

Enhance Spatial Cognition in Younger Children with Movement Meditation and Creativity with Sitting Meditation in Older Children

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness as a powerful new skill to offer students, not just to manage stress but also to keep them from acting out. Its appeal: one simple, centralized intervention with effects that potentially stretch beyond the classroom.” – Brian Resnick

 

Childhood is a miraculous period during which the child is dynamically absorbing information from every aspect of its environment. This is particularly evident during the elementary school years. Mindfulness training in school has been shown to have very positive effects. These include improvements in the academic, cognitive, psychological, and social domains. Training early in childhood has the potential of jump-starting the child’s academic performance. It is not known, however, what form of meditation training works best for children of different ages.

 

In today’s Research News article “Age-Related Differential Effects of School-Based Sitting and Movement Meditation on Creativity and Spatial Cognition: A Pilot Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8303844/  ) Marson and colleagues recruited children 10 to 13 years of age in the 5th through 8th grades and had them perform two practices in counterbalanced order for 10 weeks; a 5-minute sensorimotor task (mindful movements) and a 5-monute sitting meditation (Open monitoring). Before and after each training the children were measured for cognitive performance with a hidden figures test and for creativity with an alternative uses test.

 

They found that the younger children were most affected by the meditative movement training while the older children were affected more by the sitting meditation, In particular, younger children had significant increases in spatial cognition (hidden figures task), and the number of uses (fluency) and the number of categories of uses (flexibility) in the alternative uses task after meditative movement training. On the other hand, the older children had significantly greater improvements in creativity (unusual, divergent uses in the alternative uses task) after the sitting meditation.

 

Hence, meditative movement training improved younger children’s’ spatial cognition, fluency, and flexibility while sitting meditation improved older children’s creativity. These are interesting findings that suggest that different kinds of mindfulness trainings are most effective at different ages of children. Movement based training are most effective with younger children while sitting meditation id most effective with older children. It has been shown that mindfulness training has many benefits for children. In the present study, the benefits involve improvements in spatial cognition and creativity. The present research suggests that the type of training that is most effective is age dependent.

 

So, enhance spatial cognition in younger children with movement meditation and creativity with sitting meditation in older children.

 

The simple act of teaching children how to stop, focus, and just breathe could be one of the greatest gifts you give them.” – Healthy Children

 

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

 

Marson, F., Fano, A., Pellegrino, M., Pesce, C., Glicksohn, J., & Ben-Soussan, T. D. (2021). Age-Related Differential Effects of School-Based Sitting and Movement Meditation on Creativity and Spatial Cognition: A Pilot Study. Children (Basel, Switzerland), 8(7), 583. https://doi.org/10.3390/children8070583

 

Abstract

Psychophysical well-being can be supported during development by the integration of extra-curricular activities in scholastic settings. These activities can be implemented in different forms, ranging from physical activities to sitting meditation practices. Considering that both such activities are thought to affect children’s psychophysical development, a movement-based meditation that combines the two approaches−in the form of a short daily activity−could represent a powerful tool to promote healthy physical and mental development. Consequently, the current pilot study aimed to examine the effect of short daily school-based sitting and movement meditation trainings on creativity and spatial cognition. Utilizing a crossover design, we evaluated their feasibility and efficacy at different ages among children (n = 50) in 5th to 8th grade. We observed that 5 weeks of daily training in sitting and movement meditation techniques improved children’s cognition differently. Specifically, younger children showed greater creativity and better spatial cognition following the movement-based meditation, while older children showed greater enhancement in these areas following sitting meditation training. This suggests that training can affect children’s cognition differently depending on their developmental stage. We discuss these results within the framework of embodied and grounded cognition theories. Information on feasibility and age-related effect sizes derived from the current study paves the way for future well-powered larger-scale efficacy studies on different forms of school-based interventions to cognitive development promotion.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8303844/

 

Improve the Well-Being of Children with Special Health Care Needs and Their Parents with Mindfulness

Improve the Well-Being of Children with Special Health Care Needs and Their Parents with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness-based parenting program can be an effective intervention for reducing the stress experienced by parents of children with special needs.” – Elizabeth J. Shaffer

 

There is a tremendous demand for caregiving in the US. It is estimated that over 65 million (29% of the adult population) provides care to someone who is ill, disabled, or aged, averaging 20 hours per week spent caring for their loved ones. Children with special health care needs include a variety of conditions from psychological such as anxiety disorders or depression to chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes or chronic pain, to developmental issues such as autism. They place considerable burdens on their caregivers.  Mindfulness practice for caregivers has been shown to help them cope with the physical and psychological demands of caregiving.

 

A therapeutic technique that contains mindfulness training and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It 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.

 

There has been accumulating research on the application of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for the treatment of children with special health care needs and their caregivers and there is a need to review and summarize the findings. In today’s Research News article “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Children with Special Health Care Needs and Their Parents: 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/PMC8345967/ ) Parmar and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies on the effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for the treatment of children with special health care needs and their caregivers.

 

They identified 10 published research studies. They report that the published research finds that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) produces significant reductions in depression and perceived stress, and increases in psychological flexibility in the children. On the other hand, the parents did not show similar improvements except for a small improvement in psychological flexibility.

 

The published research, then, suggests that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is effective for children with special health care needs in reducing mental distress and increasing their flexibility in dealing with it.  ACT also produce small improvements in their caregivers. This suggests that ACT should be recommended to increase mindfulness in children with special health care needs to improve their psychological well-being.

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

cultivating a more mindful way of parenting is associated with reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. Parents experienced increased mindful awareness and improved psychological well-being, and they were more accepting of their children. Their children also had fewer behavior problems and enhanced positive interaction with their parents.” – Manika Petcharat

 

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Study Summary

 

Parmar, A., Esser, K., Barreira, L., Miller, D., Morinis, L., Chong, Y. Y., Smith, W., Major, N., Church, P., Cohen, E., & Orkin, J. (2021). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Children with Special Health Care Needs and Their Parents: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(15), 8205. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18158205

 

Abstract

Context: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an emerging treatment for improving psychological well-being. Objective: To summarize research evaluating the effects of ACT on psychological well-being in children with special health care needs (SHCN) and their parents. Data Sources: An electronic literature search was conducted in PubMed, Web of Science, Ovid/EMBASE and PsycINFO (January 2000–April 2021). Study Selection: Included were studies that assessed ACT in children with SHCN (ages 0–17y) and/or parents of children with SHCN and had a comparator group. Data Extraction: Descriptive data were synthesized and presented in a tabular format, and data on relevant outcomes (e.g., depressive symptoms, stress, avoidance and fusion) were used in the meta-analyses to explore the effectiveness of ACT (administered independently with no other psychological therapy) compared to no treatment. Results: Ten studies were identified (child (7) and parent (3)). In children with SHCN, ACT was more effective than no treatment at helping depressive symptoms (standardized mean difference [SMD] = −4.27, 95% CI: −5.20, −3.34; p < 0.001) and avoidance and fusion (SMD = −1.64, 95% CI: −3.24, −0.03; p = 0.05), but not stress. In parents of children with SHCN, ACT may help psychological inflexibility (SMD = −0.77, 95% CI: −1.07, −0.47; p < 0.01). Limitations: There was considerable statistical heterogeneity in three of the six meta-analyses. Conclusions: There is some evidence that ACT may help with depressive symptoms in children with SHCN and psychological inflexibility in their parents. Research on the efficacy of ACT for a variety of children with SHCN and their parents is especially limited, and future research is needed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8345967/

 

Improve Lung Function in Children with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy with Physiotherapy and Yoga

Improve Lung Function in Children with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy with Physiotherapy and Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

It’s not just about the physical movement, although that can really benefit people. Yoga is more about the inner experience than the outer experience. For people who have disabilities, I focus on deep breathing and meditation. Even when a pose requires the use of muscles impacted by neuromuscular disease, I tell my students they can close their eyes and visualize the body part that won’t move the way they think it should.” – Chelsea Singer

 

Muscular dystrophy is a relatively rare inherited disease that damages and weakens muscles over time due to the lack of a protein called dystrophin, which is necessary for normal muscle function. The absence of this protein can cause problems with walking, swallowing, and muscle coordination. Eventually sufferers lose the ability to walk and require a wheelchair. Muscular dystrophy can occur at any age, but most diagnoses occur in childhood. Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common form in children occurring in 1 out of 3,500 births. The symptoms include trouble walking and standing, breathing difficulties, swallowing problems, and lung and heart weakness.

 

There is no cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Drugs and surgery are used to slow progression and relieve symptoms. Respiratory problems are often treated with physiotherapy. Yoga practice has been shown to improve pulmonary function. It is not known, however, if yoga practice in addition to physiotherapy can help improve pulmonary function in children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy in children.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Yoga and Physiotherapy on Pulmonary Functions in Children with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy – A Comparative Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8191220/ ) Dhargave and colleagues recruited boys 5-10 years old who were diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and randomly assigned them to receive daily physiotherapy or the combination of physiotherapy plus yoga for 1 year. Physiotherapy occurred at home for 45 minutes twice a day in the morning and afternoon. The yoga group received physiotherapy in the morning and 45 minutes of yoga in the afternoon, including postures and breathing exercises. They were measure before and after training and every 3 months during the year of training for pulmonary function.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline both groups had significant improvements in pulmonary function over the year of training including improvements in vital capacity, peak expiratory flow rate, maximum voluntary ventilation, and tidal volume during maximum voluntary ventilation. Hence, replacing one daily physiotherapy session with yoga produced equivalent improvements in pulmonary function to 2 daily physiotherapy sessions. Both of the programs increased the respiratory muscle strength, maintained the resilience of lung tissue, and improved the lung capacities. Hence, yoga practice can be employed to supplement physiotherapy in the treatment of children diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

 

So, improve lung function in children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy with physiotherapy and yoga.

 

Although there is no cure, yoga can help to ease the symptoms of Muscular Dystrophy and improve quality of life. Yoga’s gentle movements in combination with pranayama (breathing techniques) can improve muscle tone and reduce pain, increasing the flow of oxygen, nutrients, and energy through the body, and enabling the more efficient expulsion of toxins.” – YogaClicks

 

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

 

Dhargave, P., Nalini, A., Nagarathna, R., Sendhilkumar, R., James, T. T., Raju, T. R., & Sathyaprabha, T. N. (2021). Effect of Yoga and Physiotherapy on Pulmonary Functions in Children with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy – A Comparative Study. International journal of yoga, 14(2), 133–140. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_49_20

 

Abstract

Context:

Abnormal respiratory function is known to be detectable almost as soon as it can be measured reliably. Studies have identified the effect of respiratory muscle training as well as breathing exercises in improving pulmonary functions in children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

Aims:

This study aims to identify the add-on effect of yoga over physiotherapy on pulmonary functions in children with DMD.

Settings and Design:

One hundred and twenty-four patients with DMD were randomized to two groups. Group I received home-based physiotherapy and Group II received physiotherapy along with yoga intervention.

Materials and Methods:

Pulmonary function test (PFT) was assessed before the intervention (baseline data) and at regular intervals of 3 months for a period of 1 year.

Statistical Analysis Used:

Normality was assessed using Shapiro–Wilk normality test. The baseline data were analyzed using Mann–Whitney U-test to identify the homogeneity. Repeated measures analysis of variance was used to assess significant changes in study parameters during the assessment of every 3 months, both within and between the two groups of patients.

Results:

A total of 88 participants completed all the 5 assessments, with a mean age of 7.9 ± 1.5 years. PFT parameters such as forced vital capacity (FVC), peak expiratory flow rate, maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV), and tidal volume during maximum voluntary ventilation (MVt) demonstrated significant improvements in Group I. In Group II, FVC and MVt significantly improved from baseline up to 1 year, whereas MVV improved from baseline up to 9 months. Tidal volume did not show any changes in both the groups.

Conclusions:

The findings suggest that introduction of yoga with physiotherapy intervention at an early age can be considered as one of the therapeutic strategies in improving pulmonary functions in patients with DMD.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8191220/

Improve Cognitive Ability in Elementary School Children with Mindfulness

Improve Cognitive Ability in Elementary School Children with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness [has been linked] to two core social-emotional skills: self-regulation and self-awareness. Skills in these areas teach students not only how to recognize their thoughts, emotions, and actions, but also how to react to them in positive ways.” – Waterford.org

 

Childhood is a miraculous period during which the child is dynamically absorbing information from every aspect of its environment. This is particularly evident during the elementary school years. Mindfulness training in school has been shown to have very positive effects. These include improvements in the academic, cognitive, psychological, emotional and social domains. Importantly, mindfulness training in school appears to improve attentional ability which is fundamental to success in all aspects of academic performance. But there have been few studies comparing the effects of mindfulness training to other types of training for elementary schoolchildren.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Versus Story Reading Intervention in Public Elementary Schools: Effects on Executive Functions and Emotional Health.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.576311/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1679696_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210713_arts_A ) Milaré and colleagues recruited 2 classrooms of children 8-9 years of age. One class received an 8-week mindfulness training that met twice a week for 30 minutes. The instructions were on awareness, generosity, and heartfulness. The other class received 8 weeks of story reading that met twice a week for 15 minutes. The stories were targeted to moral and emotional issues appropriate for children. They were measured before and after training for stress, anxiety, depression, positive and negative emotions, and executive functions including attention.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline both groups had significant improvements in executive functions including attention, processing speed, and controlled attention. On the other hand, the story reading but not mindfulness group had decreases in depression and negative emotions.

 

It should be noted that there wasn’t a control condition, so improvements from baseline might have been due to a number of confounding factors including practice effects, expectancy effects, experimenter bias etc. In addition, there wasn’t random assignment of the children to condition. But in adults it is well established that mindfulness training produces improvements in executive functions including attention. This is not surprising as mindfulness training involves focusing attention which is important for cognitive performance. The present study suggests that these benefits also accrue to 8-9 year-old children. Improving cognitive skills particularly attention in children is important and may well lead to improved academic performance.

 

It is interesting that targeted story reading produced similar cognitive benefits and also some emotional improvements. This may be due to the fact that the stories included emotional issues pertinent to children while the mindfulness training did not include mindfulness of emotions. This suggests that the mindfulness program could be improved by including paying attention to emotions.

 

So, improve cognitive ability in elementary school children with mindfulness.

 

Students . . . have been spending anywhere from 10 to 12 minutes per day on mindfulness exercises. But classes appear to be gaining more instruction time as a result because there are fewer outbursts and disruptions.” – Emily DeRuy

 

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

 

Milaré CAR, Kozasa EH, Lacerda S, Barrichello C, Tobo PR and Horta ALD (2021) Mindfulness-Based Versus Story Reading Intervention in Public Elementary Schools: Effects on Executive Functions and Emotional Health. Front. Psychol. 12:576311. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.576311

 

Introduction: In this study we compared the effects of a mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) with a story reading intervention (SI) on the executive functions and psychological profile of children in two different public schools in São Paulo, Brazil.

Methods: In this controlled clinical trial, 207 children aged 8 to 9 years old responded to the Five-Digit Test (FDT), stress levels, depression, anxiety, positive and negative affect, at baseline (T0) and 8 weeks later (T1). From T0 to T1, school 1 participated in MBI classes and school 2 in IS classes.

Results: In school 1 (MBI), children improved their scores on all tests except reading (errors) and counting (errors) compared with school 2. No differences were observed between groups in terms of emotional health.

Conclusion: It is feasible to implement MBI or SI in Brazilian public schools. Students in the MBI group presented broader effects in executive functions, while students in the SI group showed a trend toward reduced negative affect and depression symptoms.

Highlights

This study contributes to the scientific evidence of the positive effects of Mindfulness and Story reading on executive functions and emotional well-being in children. Neither intervention had significant effects on depression, anxiety, stress, positive, and negative affect (although Story reading showed a trend in reducing negative affect and depression), while the Mindfulness-Based Intervention had relatively broader effects on executive functions.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.576311/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1679696_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210713_arts_A

 

Mindfulness Improves Thinking in Children and Youths with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Mindfulness Improves Thinking in Children and Youths with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“studies indicate that people with ADHD can meditate successfully, and that meditation may have benefits for some of the behaviors associated with ADHD.” – Corey Whelan

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is most commonly found in children, but for about half it persists into adulthood. It’s estimated that about 5% of the adult population has ADHD. Hence, this is a very large problem that can produce inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and emotional issues, and reduce quality of life. The most common treatment is drugs, like methylphenidate, Ritalin, which helps reducing symptoms in about 30% of the people with ADHD. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the drugs appears to be markedly reduced after the first year. In addition, the drugs often have troublesome side effects, can be addictive, and can readily be abused. So, drugs, at present, do not appear to be a good solution, only affecting some, only for a short time, and with unwanted side effects.

 

There are indications that mindfulness practices may be an effective treatment for ADHD. It makes sense that it should be, as the skills and abilities strengthened by mindfulness practices training are identical to those that are defective in ADHD,  attentionimpulse controlexecutive functionemotion control, and mood improvement. In addition, unlike drugs, they are relatively safe interventions that have minimal troublesome side effects.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Differential Impact of Acute Exercise and Mindfulness Meditation on Executive Functioning and Psycho-Emotional Well-Being in Children and Youth With ADHD.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660845/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1665889_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210623_arts_A ) Bigelow and colleagues recruited children aged 10-14 years who were diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They completed 3 sessions in random order of 10 minutes of either aerobic cycling, mindfulness meditation, or magazine reading. They were measured before and after each session and 10 minutes later for inhibitory control, short-term memory, task switching, mood, and self-efficacy.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the magazine reading control condition only mindfulness meditation produced an increase in inhibitory control, short-term memory, and task switching. The improvement in inhibitory control and short-term memory were still present 10 minutes later. On the other hand, in comparison to baseline and the magazine reading control condition only aerobic exercise produced an improvement in mood and self-efficacy.

 

These results suggest that brief mindfulness meditation produces short-term improvements in executive function (thinking) in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) while aerobic exercise produces mood improvements in these children. These are acute effects of brief interventions and do not demonstrate lasting effects. But previous research has shown that mindfulness training produces lasting improvements in ADHD and executive function and that yoga practice, a form of exercise and mindfulness practice also produces lasting improvements in ADHD and executive function.

 

Hence, it appears that mindfulness training and exercise are both beneficial for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) but they appear to affect different types of ADHD symptoms with mindfulness meditation improving executive function and exercise improving emotions. This suggests that a combined program or meditation and exercise may be particularly beneficial for children with ADHD. It remains for future research to examine this intriguing possibility.

 

So, mindfulness improves thinking in children and youths with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

 

 

Medication and therapy are good ways to manage your ADHD symptoms. But they’re not your only options. Research now shows that mindfulness meditation — where you actively observe your moment-to-moment thoughts and feelings- — may also be a good way to calm your mind and improve your focus.” – WebMD

 

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

 

Bigelow H, Gottlieb MD, Ogrodnik M, Graham JD and Fenesi B (2021) The Differential Impact of Acute Exercise and Mindfulness Meditation on Executive Functioning and Psycho-Emotional Well-Being in Children and Youth With ADHD. Front. Psychol. 12:660845. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660845

 

This study investigated how acute exercise and mindfulness meditation impacts executive functioning and psycho-emotional well-being in 16 children and youth with ADHD aged 10–14 (male = 11; White = 80%). Participants completed three interventions: 10 min of exercise, 10 min of mindfulness meditation, and 10 min of reading (control). Before and after each intervention, executive functioning (inhibitory control, working memory, task-switching) and psycho-emotional well-being (mood, self-efficacy) were assessed. Mindfulness meditation increased performance on all executive functioning tasks whereas the other interventions did not (d = 0.55–0.86). Exercise enhanced positive mood and self-efficacy whereas the other interventions did not (d = 0.22–0.35). This work provides preliminary evidence for how acute exercise and mindfulness meditation can support differential aspects of executive and psycho-emotional functioning among children and youth with ADHD.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660845/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1665889_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210623_arts_A

 

Yoga Improves Pregnancy and Childbirth Outcomes

Yoga Improves Pregnancy and Childbirth Outcomes

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Much like other types of childbirth-preparation classes, prenatal yoga is a multifaceted approach to exercise that encourages stretching, mental centering and focused breathing. Research suggests that prenatal yoga is safe and can have many benefits for pregnant women and their babies.” – Mayo Clinic

 

The period of pregnancy is a time of intense physiological and psychological change. The psychological health of pregnant women has consequences for fetal development, birthing, and consequently, child outcomes. Depression during pregnancy is associated with premature delivery and low birth weight. Childbirth fear is associated with “low childbirth self-efficacy, greater use of pain medication during labor, more unwanted obstetric interventions in labor, as well as increased risk of postpartum depression.” Hence, it is clear that there is a need for methods to treat childbirth fear, depression, and anxiety during pregnancy. Since the fetus can be negatively impacted by drugs, it would be preferable to find a treatment that did not require drugs. Yoga has been shown to relieve maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy. So, it would make sense to study the effects of yoga during pregnancy.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effect of yoga on the delivery and neonatal outcomes in nulliparous pregnant women in Iran: a clinical trial study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8091762/ )  Yekefallah and colleagues recruited women during their first pregnancy in their 26th-28th week and randomly assigned them to a no-treatment control condition or to receive 10 weeks of twice a week 75-minute Hatha yoga classes. They completed demographic information and body size and information was recorded about the pregnancy, childbirth, and neonatal outcome (Apgar score).

 

They found that the yoga group was significantly less likely to have labor induced, have a preterm delivery, had a significantly shorter labor duration, and had significantly lower episiotomy rupture grades. In addition, the children of the yoga group had significantly higher birthweights, were born at a later gestational age, and had significantly higher Apgar scores.

 

The results clearly demonstrate that yoga practice during a first pregnancy improves the pregnancy, delivery, and neonatal outcomes. It should be noted, however, that the comparison group did not receive any treatment. So, it is not clear if the benefits were due to practicing yoga or if they would have been produced by any gentle exercise. Nevertheless, the study found evidence that practicing yoga during pregnancy is of great benefit to the mother and the infant.

 

So, yoga improves pregnancy and childbirth outcomes.

 

The combination of length and strength in the pelvic floor creates muscles with great integrity to support a baby in addition to all of the organs that rest on it. These strong muscles in conjunction with the gluteus medius are called upon during the second stage of labor (pushing) and are responsible for helping the bones of the pelvis come back together after delivery.“ – Karly Treacy

 

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

 

Yekefallah, L., Namdar, P., Dehghankar, L., Golestaneh, F., Taheri, S., & Mohammadkhaniha, F. (2021). The effect of yoga on the delivery and neonatal outcomes in nulliparous pregnant women in Iran: a clinical trial study. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 21(1), 351. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-021-03794-6

 

Abstract

Background

Yoga can reduce the risk of preterm delivery, cesarean section (CS), and fetal death. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of Yoga on pregnancy, delivery, and neonatal outcomes.

Methods

This was a clinical trial study and using the random sampling without replacement 70 pregnant women entered Hatha Yoga and control groups according to the color of the ball they took from a bag containing two balls (blue or red). The data collection tool was a questionnaire pregnancy, delivery, and neonatal outcomes. The intervention in this study included pregnancy Hatha Yoga exercises that first session of pregnancy Yoga started from the 26th week and samples attended the last session in the 37th week. They exercised Yoga twice a week (each session lasting 75 min) in a Yoga specialized sports club. The control group received the routine prenatal care that all pregnant women receive.

Results

The results showed that yoga reduced the induction of labor, the episiotomy rupture, duration of labor, also had a significant effect on normal birth weight and delivery at the appropriate gestational age. There were significant differences between the first and second Apgar scores of the infants.

Conclusion

The results of the present study showed that Yoga can improve the outcomes of pregnancy and childbirth. They can be used as part of the care protocol along with childbirth preparation classes to reduce the complications of pregnancy and childbirth.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8091762/