McGeechan, G. J. et al. | Qualitative exploration of a targeted school‐based mindfulness course in England | Child and Adolescent Mental Health | published 27 June 2018
Mindfulness‐based training has been shown to provide benefits for adults with numerous conditions such as cancer, chronic pain, and depression. However, less is known about its impact for young people. Early adolescence (typically 10–14 years) is a time fraught with challenges such as cognitive changes, social, and academic pressures in the form of exams, all of which can provoke anxiety. While there is a lack of effectiveness studies, there is growing interest in the potential for school‐based mindfulness programmes to help young people cope with the pressures of modern life.
This study outlines a qualitative exploration of a school‐based targeted mindfulness course. We interviewed 16 young people who had taken part in a 10‐week mindfulness course, and held a focus group with three members of teaching staff who delivered the programme. Interviews and focus groups were analysed using applied thematic analysis.
While young people felt that they had to take part, once they started the programme they enjoyed it. Young people felt that they learned a range of coping skills, and it had a positive impact on their behaviour. However, the targeted approach of the intervention could lead to young people being stigmatised by their peers. Teaching staff could see the potential benefit of mindfulness courses in schools but felt there were some barriers to be overcome if it were to be implemented in the long term.
Young people were willing to engage in mindful practice and felt it better equipped them to deal with stressful situations.
The current issue of the journal Mindfulness includes a paper that compares mindfulness- based cognitive therapy (MCBT) with cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).
This pilot study compared mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) with a self-help guide based on cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for university students experiencing difficulties due to perfectionism. Participants were randomised to an MBCT intervention specifically tailored for perfectionism or pure CBT self-help. Questionnaires were completed at baseline, 8 weeks later (corresponding to the end of MBCT) and at 10-week follow-up. Post-intervention intention-to-treat (ITT) analyses identified that MBCT participants (n = 28) had significantly lower levels of perfectionism and stress than self-help participants (n = 32). There was significant MBCT superiority for changes in unhelpful beliefs about emotions, rumination, mindfulness, self-compassion and decentering. At 10-week follow-up, effects were maintained in the MBCT group, and analyses showed superior MBCT outcomes for perfectionism and daily impairment caused by perfectionism. Pre-post changes in self-compassion significantly mediated the group differences in pre-post changes in clinical perfectionism. Greater frequency of mindfulness practice was associated with larger improvements in self-compassion. MBCT is a promising intervention for perfectionist students, which may result in larger improvements than pure CBT self-help. The findings require replication with a larger sample.
James, K., & Rimes, K. A. (2018). Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Versus Pure Cognitive Behavioural Self-Help for Perfectionism: a Pilot Randomised Study. Mindfulness, 9(3), 801-814.
The article is available to read online from Springer here
Science Daily | May 2018 | Motivation to move may start with being mindful
A new US study that compared two interventions: mindfulness based stress reduction training and aerobic exercise training, has found that the participants in both of the interventions were more active than control group. Both interventions involved attending 2.5 hour weekly sessions; those in the mindfulness intervention learning various exercise techniques and discussing strategies to change behaviour and participants in the exercise intervention were taught a number of exercise techniques and discussed strategies to change behaviour. The participants in the interventions also spent one hour participating in group activities such as walking (via Science Daily).
Researcher Jacob Meyer reports that the subjects in the interventions were active for a further 75 minutes a week of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity following the eight-week interventions. Although the researchers hypothesised that the exercise group to increase activity, they were surprised by the similar levels of activity from the mindfulness training.
Meyer notes: “Structured exercise training is something as a field we have used for decades to improve physical activity and physical health,” Meyer said. “To see a similar effect on physical activity from an intervention that focuses on the way someone thinks or perceives the world, was completely unexpected.”
The full news item is available from Science Daily
One hour of mindfulness meditation shown to reduce anxiety and some cardiovascular risk markers | Michigan Technological University | via ScienceDaily
Preliminary data from a recent student-led study shows that even a single session of meditation can have cardiovascular and psychological benefits for adults with mild to moderate anxiety.
The mindfulness study included three sessions:
- An orientation session during which researchers measured anxiety using the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and conducted cardiovascular testing by measuring heart rate variability, resting blood pressure and pulse wave analysis;
- A meditation session that included repetition of the cardiovascular testing plus the mindfulness meditation—20 minutes introductory meditation, 30 minutes body scan and 10 minutes self-guided meditation—as well as repeating cardiovascular measurements immediately following meditation and 60 minutes after;
- A post-meditation anxiety test one week later.
60 minutes after meditating the 14 study participants showed lower resting heart rates and reduction in aortic pulsatile load – the amount of change in blood pressure between diastole and systole of each heartbeat multiplied by heart rate. Additionally, shortly after meditating, and even one week later, the group reported anxiety levels were lower than pre-meditation levels.
Full detail: Michigan Technological University: Meditation could help anxiety and cardiovascular health.