Caveat: "Before we reject mindfulness for adolescents altogether, it is 
important to consider a few limitations of the study. The traditional MBSR 
training that has been effective in reducing depression and anxiety in adults 
involves 20 to 26 hours of formal training, including one 6-hour session, 8 
weekly 2-hour sessions, and daily 45 min practice sessions at home. By 
contrast, because the training offered by Johnson and colleagues was adapted to 
fit the school schedule, the sessions lasted only 35-60 minutes each, for a 
total of 4.5 – 8 hours of training. Johnson and colleagues also shortened the 
initial introductory session, which is designed to help participants understand 
why mindfulness can be beneficial. The participants also reported very low 
compliance rates with home practice (26 percent during the 8-week training 
period and 13 percent at follow up). All of this may well have undercut the 
potential benefits, and it is possible that a more intensive training 
intervention, with consistent home practice, could yield better results."
 

 

 

 A deal with TM is the body of studies, not just a study but of the range of 
effect. 
 

---In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, <dickm...@lisco.com> wrote :

 https://goo.gl/QyFuHx https://goo.gl/QyFuHx
 

 Scientific American
 MENTAL HEALTH https://www.scientificamerican.com/mental-health/
 Mindfulness Training for Teens Fails Important Test A large trial in schools 
showed no evidence of benefits, and hints it could even cause problems
 By Cindi May https://www.scientificamerican.com/author/cindi-may/ on October 
31, 2017

 
 
Credit: Muriel de Seze Getty Images 
http://www.gettyimages.com/license/642292549 Mindfulness 
https://books.google.com/books/about/Full_Catastrophe_Living_Revised_Edition.html?id=fIuNDtnb2ZkC
 involves a conscious focus on and awareness of your present state of mind and 
surroundings, without judgment or reaction. Mindfulness is rooted in Buddhism 
and was developed in the 1970’s as a therapeutic intervention for stress in 
adults by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction 
Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Over the past several 
decades, the practice of mindfulness has evolved into a booming billion dollar 
industry, with growing claims that mindfulness is a panacea for host of 
maladies including stress, depression, failures of attention, eating disorders, 
substance abuse, weight gain, and pain.
 Not all of these claims, however, are likely to be true. A recent critical 
evaluation http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1745691617709589 of the 
adult literature on mindfulness identifies a number of weaknesses in the extant 
research, including a lack of randomized control groups, small sample sizes, 
large attrition rates, and inconsistent definitions of mindfulness. Moreover, a 
systematic review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24395196 of intervention 
studies found insufficient evidence for a benefit of mindfulness on attention, 
mood, sleep, weight control, or substance abuse.
 That said, there is empirical evidence 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24395196 that mindfulness offers a moderate 
benefit for anxiety, depression, and pain, at least in adults. Can mindfulness 
also be used as an effective tool for mitigating depression and anxiety in 
teens? Some research https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23787061 suggests it 
can, but the research is plagued by the same shortcomings identified in the 
adult literature (e.g., lack of a randomized control group, small sample 
sizes). In an effort to address these limitations, Catherine Johnson, Christine 
Burke, Sally Brickman, and Tracey Wade conducted a large-scale study 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27054828 including a randomized control 
group to assess the benefits of mindfulness training in teens.
 

 They evaluated the efficacy of mindfulness training in 308 middle and high 
school students (average age 13.6 yrs) from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. 
The students were enrolled in 17 different classes across 5 different schools. 
Students opted in to the study, and were randomly assigned to the control group 
or the mindfulness training group. Students in the control group received no 
mindfulness training but instead participated in community projects or received 
lessons in pastoral care. Students in the mindfulness group completed 8 weeks 
of training in the .b (“Dot be”) Mindfulness in Schools curriculum, which is 
based on the “gold standard” Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) 
intervention for adults. The training sessions varied in length from 35 to 60 
min and were administered once a week. All mindfulness training was conducted 
by the same certified instructor. Beyond the weekly training sessions, teens in 
the mindfulness group were encouraged to practice mindfulness techniques at 
home and were given manuals to assist in this practice.
 All participants were assessed at three different time points: a baseline 
taken one week before the intervention, a post-test measure taken a week after 
the sessions were over, and a follow-up assessment administered about 3 months 
later. The study included measures of anxiety and depression, weight and shape 
concerns, well-being, emotional dysregulation, self-compassion, and 
mindfulness. Participants were also asked to report their compliance with home 
practice, and to provide an evaluation of the intervention. Attrition rates 
were low (just 16 percent at follow up) and comparable for both groups.
 Despite the numerous outcome measures employed in the study, there was no 
evidence of any benefit for the mindfulness group at either the immediate 
post-test or the follow up. In fact, anxiety was higher at the follow up for 
males in the mindfulness group relative to males in the control group. The same 
was true for participants with low baseline depression and low baseline weight 
concerns; mindfulness training led to an increase in anxiety in these 
individuals over time.
 The careful design and implementation of this study addressed a number of 
shortcomings from previous studies, as the authors used a large and diverse 
multi-site sample, a randomized control group, an age-appropriate mindfulness 
curriculum, a certified trainer, and a plethora of outcome measures. The fact 
that this carefully-controlled investigation showed no benefits of mindfulness 
for any measure, and furthermore indicated an adverse effect for some 
participants, indicates that mindfulness training is not a universal solution 
for addressing anxiety or depression in teens, nor does it qualify as a 
replacement for more traditional psychotherapy or psychopharmacology, at least 
not as implemented in this school-based paradigm.
 Before we reject mindfulness for adolescents altogether, it is important to 
consider a few limitations of the study. The traditional MBSR training that has 
been effective in reducing depression and anxiety in adults involves 20 to 26 
hours of formal training, including one 6-hour session, 8 weekly 2-hour 
sessions, and daily 45 min practice sessions at home. By contrast, because the 
training offered by Johnson and colleagues was adapted to fit the school 
schedule, the sessions lasted only 35-60 minutes each, for a total of 4.5 – 8 
hours of training. Johnson and colleagues also shortened the initial 
introductory session, which is designed to help participants understand why 
mindfulness can be beneficial. The participants also reported very low 
compliance rates with home practice (26 percent during the 8-week training 
period and 13 percent at follow up). All of this may well have undercut the 
potential benefits, and it is possible that a more intensive training 
intervention, with consistent home practice, could yield better results.
 

 As the parent of any teenager can attest, adolescence can be a bumpy ride. 
Emotional, psychological, and cognitive maturity do not always keep pace with 
reproductive and physical development, and so it is not surprising that 
depression and anxiety https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20213753 tend to 
emerge during adolescence. In some cases these conditions may become chronic 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19232805, affecting physical health, social 
life, and academic success. Effective treatment is thus not only important for 
addressing teens’ immediate needs for well-being, but also for their long-term 
outcomes. Universal school-based prevention programs are appealing because they 
are relatively low-cost and can be administered to a broad range of students 
during key developmental windows. To many, mindfulness may seem like the 
perfect candidate for such school-based interventions, as it has been promoted 
by practitioners, the media, corporations 
https://hbr.org/2015/12/why-google-target-and-general-mills-are-investing-in-mindfulness
 like Google and Target, and even governmental and educational 
https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/mindfulness-trial agencies. The findings 
from Johnson and colleagues join a growing number of studies in suggesting the 
need for greater scientific rigor in mindfulness research and a more careful 
analysis of paradigms and procedures: a more mindful approach to mindfulness.



 ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S) Cindi May
 Cindi May http://blogs.cofc.edu/mayc/ is a Professor of Psychology at the 
College of Charleston. She explores avenues for improving cognitive function in 
college students, older adults, and individuals with intellectual disabilities. 
She is also an advocate for inclusive educational and social opportunities for 
people with disabilities.














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