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Youth living with HIV have sub-optimal rates of adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART). Mindfulness instruction interventions have shown promise for improving medication adherence, but the effects and mechanisms of these interventions are still being explored among people living with HIV, including youth. In the context of a randomized controlled trial of the efficacy of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program on ART adherence and viral suppression among youth living with HIV, we conducted 44 iterative, semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 20 study participants (13–24 years) recruited from clinics at two academic centers in Baltimore, Maryland. Interviews explored the social context and psychosocial dynamics of ART adherence in the context of the MBSR intervention, compared with those in a control arm. We employed thematic content analysis to systematically code and synthesize textual interview data. Participants’ challenges with ART adherence were often situated within an ongoing process of working to manage HIV as a stigmatized, chronic condition in addition to other intersecting social stigmas, inequalities, and stressors. Participation in the MBSR program and related group support allowed participants to non-judgmentally observe and accept difficult thoughts, feelings, and experiences associated with living with HIV and taking ART, which facilitated greater reported adherence. Mindfulness training may stimulate new perspectives and understanding, including greater self- and illness-acceptance among youth living with HIV, leading to improved HIV outcomes.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was introduced in 1995 to address the problem of recurrent depression. MBCT is based on the notion that meditation helps individuals effectively deploy and regulate attention to effectively manage and treat a range of psychological symptoms, including emotional responses to stress, anxiety, and depression. Several studies demonstrate that mindfulness approaches can effectively reduce negative emotional reactions that result from and/or exacerbate psychiatric difficulties and exposure to stressors among children, adolescents, and their parents. Mindfulness may be particularly relevant for youth with maladaptive cognitive processes such as rumination. Clinical experience regarding the utility of mindfulness-based approaches, including MBCT, is being increasingly supported by empirical studies to optimize the effective treatment of youth with a range of challenging symptoms. This paper provides a description of MBCT, including mindfulness practices, theoretical mechanisms of action, and targeted review of studies in adolescents.
Over the past decade, training in mindfulness—the intentional cultivation of moment-by-moment non-judgmental focused attention and awareness—has spread from its initial western applications in medicine to other fields, including education. This paper reviews research and curricula pertaining to the integration of mindfulness training into K-12 education, both indirectly by training teachers and through direct teaching of students. Research on the neurobiology of mindfulness in adults suggests that sustained mindfulness practice can enhance attentional and emotional self-regulation and promote flexibility, pointing toward significant potential benefits for both teachers and students. Early research results on three illustrative mindfulness-based teacher training initiatives suggest that personal training in mindfulness skills can increase teachers’ sense of well-being and teaching self-efficacy, as well as their ability to manage classroom behavior and establish and maintain supportive relationships with students. Since 2005, 14 studies of programs that directly train students in mindfulness have collectively demonstrated a range of cognitive, social, and psychological benefits to both elementary (six studies) and high school (eight studies) students. These include improvements in working memory, attention, academic skills, social skills, emotional regulation, and self-esteem, as well as self-reported improvements in mood and decreases in anxiety, stress, and fatigue. The educational goals, target population, and core features of ten established mindfulness-based curricula are described. Finally, the need for more rigorous scientific evidence of the benefits of mindfulness-based interventions in K-12 education is discussed, along with suggestions of specific process, outcome, and research-design questions remaining to be answered.
IMPORTANCE:Many people meditate to reduce psychological stress and stress-related health problems. To counsel people appropriately, clinicians need to know what the evidence says about the health benefits of meditation. OBJECTIVE: To determine the efficacy of meditation programs in improving stress-related outcomes (anxiety, depression, stress/distress, positive mood, mental health-related quality of life, attention, substance use, eating habits, sleep, pain, and weight) in diverse adult clinical populations. EVIDENCE REVIEW: We identified randomized clinical trials with active controls for placebo effects through November 2012 from MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, PsycArticles, Scopus, CINAHL, AMED, the Cochrane Library, and hand searches. Two independent reviewers screened citations and extracted data. We graded the strength of evidence using 4 domains (risk of bias, precision, directness, and consistency) and determined the magnitude and direction of effect by calculating the relative difference between groups in change from baseline. When possible, we conducted meta-analyses using standardized mean differences to obtain aggregate estimates of effect size with 95% confidence intervals. FINDINGS: After reviewing 18 753 citations, we included 47 trials with 3515 participants. Mindfulness meditation programs had moderate evidence of improved anxiety (effect size, 0.38 [95% CI, 0.12-0.64] at 8 weeks and 0.22 [0.02-0.43] at 3-6 months), depression (0.30 [0.00-0.59] at 8 weeks and 0.23 [0.05-0.42] at 3-6 months), and pain (0.33 [0.03- 0.62]) and low evidence of improved stress/distress and mental health-related quality of life. We found low evidence of no effect or insufficient evidence of any effect of meditation programs on positive mood, attention, substance use, eating habits, sleep, and weight. We found no evidence that meditation programs were better than any active treatment (ie, drugs, exercise, and other behavioral therapies). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Clinicians should be aware that meditation programs can result in small to moderate reductions of multiple negative dimensions of psychological stress. Thus, clinicians should be prepared to talk with their patients about the role that a meditation program could have in addressing psychological stress. Stronger study designs are needed to determine the effects of meditation programs in improving the positive dimensions of mental health and stress-related behavior.
Mind-body therapies are popular and are ranked among the top 10 complementary and integrative medicine practices reportedly used by adults and children in the 2007-2012 National Health Interview Survey. A growing body of evidence supports the effectiveness and safety of mind-body therapies in pediatrics. This clinical report outlines popular mind-body therapies for children and youth and examines the best-available evidence for a variety of mind-body therapies and practices, including biofeedback, clinical hypnosis, guided imagery, meditation, and yoga. The report is intended to help health care professionals guide their patients to nonpharmacologic approaches to improve concentration, help decrease pain, control discomfort, or ease anxiety.
Mindfulness meditation is a useful adjunct to behavioral and medical interventions to manage a range of symptoms, including psychological and physical responses to stress, anxiety, depression, and disruptive behavior. Mindfulness approaches can be taught to children, adolescents, and their parents to improve self-regulation, particularly in response to stress. Mindfulness may be particularly relevant for youth and families who have an increased risk for exposure to chronic stress and unique stressors associated with medical and/or social-contextual considerations. Moreover, mindfulness parenting techniques can augment traditional behavioral approaches to improve children׳s behavior through specific parent–child interactions. A growing body of empirical studies and clinical experience suggest that incorporating mindfulness practices will enable clinicians to more effectively treat youth and their families in coping optimally with a range of challenging symptoms.
Interest in mindfulness as a tool to improve health and well-being has increased rapidly over the past two decades. Limited qualitative research has been conducted on mindfulness and health. This study utilized in-depth interviews to explore the context, perceptions, and experiences of a sub-set of participants engaged in an acceptability study of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) among urban youth. Content analysis revealed that all in-depth interview participants reported experiencing some form of positive benefit and enhanced self-awareness as a result of MBSR program participation. Significant variation in the types and intensity of changes occurring was identified, ranging from a reframing and reduction of daily stressors to transformational shifts in life orientation and well-being. Variations in perceptions of and experiences with mindfulness should be studied in further depth in the context of prospective intervention research, including their potentially differential influence on mental and physical health outcomes.
Research suggests that many children are exposed to adverse experiences in childhood. Such adverse childhood exposures may result in stress and trauma, which are associated with increased morbidity and mortality into adulthood. In general populations and trauma-exposed adults, mindfulness interventions have demonstrated reduced depression and anxiety, reduced trauma-related symptoms, enhanced coping and mood, and improved quality of life. Studies in children and youth also demonstrate that mindfulness interventions improve mental, behavioral, and physical outcomes. Taken together, this research suggests that high-quality, structured 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. Future work is needed to optimize implementation of youth-based mindfulness programs and to study long-term outcomes into adulthood.
ObjectivesMindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has been shown to improve mental health and reduce stress in a variety of adult populations. Here, we explore the effects of a school-based MBSR program for young urban males. Participants and methods In fall 2009, 7th and 8th graders at a small school for low-income urban boys were randomly assigned to 12-session programs of MBSR or health education (Healthy Topics—HT). Data were collected at baseline, post-program, and three-month follow-up on psychological functioning; sleep; and salivary cortisol, a physiologic measure of stress. Results Forty-one (22 MBSR and 19 HT) of the 42 eligible boys participated, of whom 95% were African American, with a mean age of 12.5 years. Following the programs, MBSR boys had less anxiety (p = 0.01), less rumination (p = 0.02), and showed a trend for less negative coping (p = 0.06) than HT boys. Comparing baseline with post-program, cortisol levels increased during the academic terms for HT participants at a trend level (p = 0.07) but remained constant for MBSR participants (p = 0.33). Conclusions In this study, MBSR participants showed less anxiety, improved coping, and a possible attenuation of cortisol response to academic stress, when compared with HT participants. These results suggest that MBSR improves psychological functioning among urban male youth.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has been shown to improve health outcomes across populations. We explored the feasibility, acceptability, and initial effects of a pilot MBSR program at a highly-ranked university in the United States. We conducted 23 in-depth interviews with 13 students. Interviews explored stressors and coping mechanisms, experiences with MBSR, and its reported impact and potential future use. Interviews were analyzed using thematic content and narrative analyses. Results indicated that students are exposed to a very high level of constant stress related to the sheer amount of work and activities that they have and the pervasive surrounding university culture of perfectionism. MBSR offered an opportunity to step back and gain perspective on issues of balance and priorities and provided concrete techniques to counter the effects of stressors. We conclude that MBSR and mindfulness programs may contribute to more supportive university learning environments and greater health and well-being among students.