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An exploratory study of the effects of mindfulness on perceived levels of stress among school-children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds

By Elizabeth Costello and Margaret Lawler


Children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are at increased risk of experiencing\ud stress and associated social-emotional difficulties and behavioural problems, which can\ud undermine academic performance and lead to school drop-out. Previous studies\ud investigating the effects of mindfulness have evidenced positive outcomes among\ud children pertaining to enhanced well-being, school-based competence and decreased\ud levels of stress and anxiety. However, these studies have typically examined teacher’s\ud perceptions of change or quantitative outcomes without consideration of children’s\ud experiences. The present study employs an interpretative qualitative approach to gain a\ud greater understanding of children’s experiences of mindfulness in dealing with stress. A\ud 5-week school-based mindfulness program was performed with 63 primary school\ud children at risk of social exclusion in education. Interviews were undertaken with 16\ud children and 2 teachers. Thematic analysis identified five key themes labelled\ud conceptualisation of stress, awareness, self-regulation, classroom regulations and\ud addressing future stress. Quantitative measures of children’s perceived stress levels\ud evaluated at baseline and follow-up also revealed significant reductions post\ud intervention. These findings offer support for the incorporation of mindfulness\ud interventions into the school curriculum, as a means of empowering children to address\ud stress in their lives and improving full participation in the education system.peer-reviewe

Topics: Stress in adolescence, Stress in children, Marginality, Social, Social isolation, Mindfulness (Psychology)
Publisher: Centre for Resilience & Socio-Emotional Health
Year: 2014
OAI identifier:
Provided by: OAR@UM

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