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Attention Restoration Theory (ART) suggests the ability to concentrate may be restored by exposure to natural environments. Although widely cited, it is unclear as to the quantity of empirical evidence that supports this. A systematic review regarding the impact of exposure to natural environments on attention was conducted. Seven electronic databases were searched. Studies were included if (1) they were natural experiments, randomized investigations, or recorded ?before and after? measurements; (2) compared natural and nonnatural/other settings; and (3) used objective measures of attention. Screening of articles for inclusion, data extraction, and quality appraisal were performed by one reviewer and checked by another. Where possible, random effects meta-analysis was used to pool effect sizes. Thirty-one studies were included. Meta-analyses provided some support for ART, with significant positive effects of exposure to natural environments for three measures (Digit Span Forward, Digit Span Backward, and Trail Making Test B). The remaining 10 meta-analyses did not show marked beneficial effects. Meta-analysis was limited by small numbers of investigations, small samples, heterogeneity in reporting of study quality indicators, and heterogeneity of outcomes. This review highlights the diversity of evidence around ART in terms of populations, study design, and outcomes. There is uncertainty regarding which aspects of attention may be affected by exposure to natural environments.

Attention Restoration Theory (ART) suggests the ability to concentrate may be restored by exposure to natural environments. Although widely cited, it is unclear as to the quantity of empirical evidence that supports this. A systematic review regarding the impact of exposure to natural environments on attention was conducted. Seven electronic databases were searched. Studies were included if (1) they were natural experiments, randomized investigations, or recorded ?before and after? measurements; (2) compared natural and nonnatural/other settings; and (3) used objective measures of attention. Screening of articles for inclusion, data extraction, and quality appraisal were performed by one reviewer and checked by another. Where possible, random effects meta-analysis was used to pool effect sizes. Thirty-one studies were included. Meta-analyses provided some support for ART, with significant positive effects of exposure to natural environments for three measures (Digit Span Forward, Digit Span Backward, and Trail Making Test B). The remaining 10 meta-analyses did not show marked beneficial effects. Meta-analysis was limited by small numbers of investigations, small samples, heterogeneity in reporting of study quality indicators, and heterogeneity of outcomes. This review highlights the diversity of evidence around ART in terms of populations, study design, and outcomes. There is uncertainty regarding which aspects of attention may be affected by exposure to natural environments.

BackgroundMindfulness-based approaches for adults are effective at enhancing mental health, but few controlled trials have evaluated their effectiveness or cost-effectiveness for young people. The primary aim of this trial is to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a mindfulness training (MT) programme to enhance mental health, wellbeing and social-emotional behavioural functioning in adolescence. Methods/design To address this aim, the design will be a superiority, cluster randomised controlled, parallel-group trial in which schools offering social and emotional provision in line with good practice (Formby et al., Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education: A mapping study of the prevalent models of delivery and their effectiveness, 2010; OFSTED, Not Yet Good Enough: Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education in schools, 2013) will be randomised to either continue this provision (control) or include MT in this provision (intervention). The study will recruit and randomise 76 schools (clusters) and 5700 school students aged 12 to 14 years, followed up for 2 years. Discussion The study will contribute to establishing if MT is an effective and cost-effective approach to promoting mental health in adolescence.

BACKGROUND:Mindfulness-based approaches for adults are effective at enhancing mental health, but few controlled trials have evaluated their effectiveness among young people. AIMS: To assess the acceptability and efficacy of a schools-based universal mindfulness intervention to enhance mental health and well-being. METHOD: A total of 522 young people aged 12-16 in 12 secondary schools either participated in the Mindfulness in Schools Programme (intervention) or took part in the usual school curriculum (control). RESULTS: Rates of acceptability were high. Relative to the controls, and after adjusting for baseline imbalances, children who participated in the intervention reported fewer depressive symptoms post-treatment (P = 0.004) and at follow-up (P = 0.005) and lower stress (P = 0.05) and greater well-being (P = 0.05) at follow-up. The degree to which students in the intervention group practised the mindfulness skills was associated with better well-being (P<0.001) and less stress (P = 0.03) at 3-month follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: The findings provide promising evidence of the programme's acceptability and efficacy.

Parental depression can adversely affect parenting and children’s development. We adapted mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for parents (MBCT-P) with a history of depression and describe its development, feasibility, acceptability and preliminary estimates of efficacy. Manual development involved interviews with 12 parents who participated in MBCT groups or pilot MBCT-P groups. We subsequently randomised 38 parents of children aged between 2 and 6 years to MBCT-P plus usual care (n = 19) or usual care (n = 19). Parents were interviewed to assess the acceptability of MBCT-P. Preliminary estimates of efficacy in relation to parental depression and children’s behaviour were calculated at 4 and 9 months post-randomisation. Levels of parental stress, mindfulness and self-compassion were measured. Interviews confirmed the acceptability of MBCT-P; 78 % attended at least half the sessions. In the pilot randomised controlled trial (RCT), at 9 months, depressive symptoms in the MBCT-P arm were lower than in the usual care arm (adjusted mean difference = −7.0; 95 % confidence interval (CI) = −12.8 to −1.1; p = 0.02) and 11 participants (58 %) in the MBCT-P arm remained well compared to 6 (32 %) in the usual care arm (mean difference = 26 %; 95 % CI = −4 to 57 %; p = 0.02). Levels of mindfulness (p = 0.01) and self-compassion (p = 0.005) were higher in the MBCT-P arm, with no significant differences in parental stress (p = 0.2) or children’s behaviour (p = 0.2). Children’s behaviour problems were significantly lower in the MBCT-P arm at 4 months (p = 0.03). This study suggests MBCT-P is acceptable and feasible. A definitive trial is needed to test its efficacy and cost effectiveness.