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PURPOSE:Poorly managed stress leads to detrimental physical and psychological consequences that have implications for individual and community health. Evidence indicates that U.S. adults predominantly use unhealthy strategies for stress management. This study examines the impact of a community-based mindfulness training program on stress reduction. DESIGN: This study used a one-group pretest-posttest design. SETTING: The study took place at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center in urban Los Angeles. SUBJECTS: A sample of N = 127 community residents (84% Caucasian, 74% female) were included in the study. INTERVENTION: Participants received mindfulness training through the Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs) for Daily Living I. MEASURES: Mindfulness, self-compassion, and perceived stress were measured at baseline and postintervention. ANALYSIS: Paired-sample t-tests were used to test for changes in outcome measures from baseline to postintervention. Hierarchical regression analysis was fit to examine whether change in self-reported mindfulness and self-compassion predicted postintervention perceived stress scores. RESULTS: There were statistically significant improvements in self-reported mindfulness (t = -10.67, p < .001, d = .90), self-compassion (t = -8.50, p < .001, d = .62), and perceived stress (t = 9.28, p < .001, d = -.78) at postintervention. Change in self-compassion predicted postintervention perceived stress (β = -.44, t = -5.06, p < .001), but change in mindfulness did not predict postintervention perceived stress (β = -.04, t = -.41, p = .68). CONCLUSION: These results indicate that a community-based mindfulness training program can lead to reduced levels of psychological stress. Mindfulness training programs such as MAPs may offer a promising approach for general public health promotion through improving stress management in the urban community.

A school-based program of mindful awareness practices (MAPs) was evaluated in a randomized control study of 64 second- and third-grade children ages 7–9 years. The program was delivered for 30 minutes, twice per week, for 8 weeks. Teachers and parents completed questionnaires assessing children's executive function immediately before and following the 8-week period. Multivariate analysis of covariance on teacher and parent reports of executive function (EF) indicated an interaction effect between baseline EF score and group status on posttest EF. That is, children in the MAPs group who were less well regulated showed greater improvement in EF compared with controls. Specifically, those children starting out with poor EF who went through the MAPs training showed gains in behavioral regulation, metacognition, and overall global executive control. These results indicate a stronger effect of MAPs on children with executive function difficulties. The finding that both teachers and parents reported changes suggests that improvements in children's behavioral regulation generalized across settings. Future work is warranted using neurocognitive tasks of executive functions, behavioral observation, and multiple classroom samples to replicate and extend these preliminary findings.