A critical review of adolescent mindfulness-based programmes

  • Tan L
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OBJECTIVES: Previous research has demonstrated that mindfulness-based programmes improve psychological functioning in a myriad of adult domains. These include health care, marketing and sports industries. The efficacy of mindfulness-based programmes in the adult population is well established. Indeed, compared to adult empirical literature, mindfulness programmes for adolescents are relatively developmental and less articulated until now. It may be argued that mindfulness-based programmes could and should begin early and be applicable to young people at a time that is critical in their development. Hence, this article analyses the characteristics, objectives and outcomes of mindfulness interventions for adolescents, focusing on the mindfulness programme adjustments and adaptations made to the content for this target group.

METHOD: A critique of the literature that included published articles of mindfulness-based interventions (both clinical and universal programmes) for adolescents were sourced and reviewed. Conference papers and unpublished dissertations were excluded.

RESULTS: The review indicated that a majority of these were longitudinal and feasibility studies, with only one clinical randomised controlled trial study.

CONCLUSION: Preliminary evidence for the use of mindfulness-based with adolescents continues to be nascent, with many of the studies using inappropriate or no mindfulness process measures at all. In addition, a majority of the studies did not provide specific details of the mindfulness programmes for adolescents, nor discuss what modifications were undertaken - all of which makes comparison difficult. However, with the availability of recent and age-appropriate mindfulness measures for adolescents, more rigorous and robust research looks promising.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adolescents
  • mental health
  • mindfulness-based interventions
  • school
  • social-emotional

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  • Lucy B.G. Tan

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