Summary: Mindfulness training can help increase optimism, enhance positive mood, and negate some of the effects of stress by improving mental health in school-aged children.

Source: University of Derby

Mindfulness programs can improve the mental health of school-age children and help them to feel more optimistic, according to new research from the University of Derby and Derbyshire Educational Psychology Service.

More than 1,000 pupils aged between 9-12 years old across 25 schools in Derbyshire, received one 45-minute mindfulness session per week for nine weeks during the year-long project, which involved a collaboration between Dr. William Van Gordon, Associate Professor in Contemplative Psychology at the University, and Derbyshire Educational Psychology Service.

Mindfulness is an ancient meditation technique that involves focussing awareness on the present moment, as a means of fostering calm, wellbeing and insight. The weekly sessions involved activities such as practicing mindful breathing and paying attention to bodily sensations, as well as exercises intended to help cultivate attention skills and a greater awareness of emotions.

The impact of the sessions, which were delivered by teachers in a traditional classroom environment, was evaluated by comparing psychological assessments that the children completed before the classes began, with assessments undertaken after the program had concluded.

Part of the evaluation measured children’s emotional resiliency using The Resiliency Scale for Children, while wellbeing was rated using the Stirling Children’s Wellbeing Scale.

Overall, the study found a significant improvement in positive emotional state, outlook and resiliency. There was also an increase in the different dimensions of resilience: optimism increased by 10%, tolerance was improved by 8% and self-efficacy, how a child feels they can cope with a situation based on the skills they have and the circumstances they face, improved by 11%.

Overall, the study found a significant improvement in positive emotional state, outlook and resiliency. Image is in the public domain

Professor Van Gordon said: “Findings from the study indicate that mindfulness delivered by school teachers can improve wellbeing and resiliency in children and young people.

“This is consistent with wider evidence demonstrating the positive impact of mindfulness on school children’s levels of emotional resiliency, emotional stability, wellbeing and stress.

“These findings are also in line with the view that preventative interventions given at a young age can help to reduce the incidence of mental health problems in young people.”

About this psychology research news

Source: University of Derby
Contact: Press Office – University of Derby
Image: The image is in the public domain

Original Research: Closed access.
“Effects of a regional school-based mindfulness program on students’ levels of Wellbeing and resiliency” by William Van Gordon et al. International Journal of Spa and Wellness


Abstract

See also

This shows a happy girl sitting on a swing

Effects of a regional school-based mindfulness program on students’ levels of Wellbeing and resiliency

Mindfulness has recently shown promise in mental illness treatment and preventative contexts with school-aged young people.

However, there is a shortage of studies investigating the effects of school-based mindfulness interventions on young people of a pre-adolescent and early-adolescent age.

Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of a regional multi-site school-based mindfulness programme on wellbeing and resiliency in UK school children aged 9–12 years old.

A total of 1,138 children who received mindfulness training completed the Resiliency Scale for Children and Adolescents and the Stirling Children’s Wellbeing Scale pre- and post-intervention. Results showed significant improvements following intervention delivery in positive emotional state, positive outlook, and resiliency, with resiliency effects maintained at a six-month follow-up assessment.

Findings indicate that mindfulness delivered by school teachers can improve wellbeing and resiliency in children and young people.



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