Mindfulness is currently being researched in many major universities in the USA such as Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Duke etc. Visit and subscribe to the ‘Mindfulness Research Guide’ to learn about Mindfulness research departments and their studies. Click here to visit the Guide. Click here to read an article by UC Berkeley which discusses 4 recent studies about mindfulness in education.

Over the last 20 years, we’ve seen an exponential growth in the number of peer-reviewed journal papers about mindfulness. Scientists all over the world have been examining the effectiveness of mindfulness in various contexts, including the workplace, healthcare and education.

Research Supporting Mindfulness in Schools:

Several studies have highlighted numerous benefits of mindfulness when taught to students in schools. Here are just a few key findings:
Children ages 11-13 experiencing high anxiety, who participated in a mindfulness and relaxation program, showed significant decreases in both test anxiety and ADHD behavior as well as an increase in the ability to pay attention (Napoli et al., 2005).
Teens 17-19 years old at an American independent girls’ schools benefited from a mindfulness-based program by experiencing decreases in negative affect, and increases in calm, realization, self-acceptance, emotional regulation, awareness and clarity (Broderick & Metz, 2009).
Significant improvements in attention were found among 9 to 13 year olds participating in a mindfulness-based intervention compared with children who did not. They also found reductions in anxiety and behavior problems (Semple et al., 2010).
A program implemented in a low-income, ethnic minority elementary school found that student behavior improved significantly in four key areas: paying attention, self-control, classroom participation, and respect for others (Black & Fernando, 2014).

 

Not only does mindfulness positively impact students, but studies with teachers have also highlighted several benefits:

  • When teacher at a secondary school participated in a mindfulness program, there were significant reductions in levels of teacher stress and the number sick leave days. There was also a reduction in feelings of pressure, demotivation, and poor coping (Manas et al., 2011).
  • A group of Spanish secondary school teachers participating in a mindfulness-training program showed reduction in psychological distress, which was maintained four months later (Franco, et al, 2011).
  • Educators of children with special needs who participated in a 5-week mindfulness training program experienced positive increases in their mindfulness, awareness, patience, and empathy. They also reported an increase in forgiveness of the self and others, and sense of personal growth, and reductions in stress and anxiety (Benn et al, 2012).
  • Student teachers, mentors, and experienced teachers participating in a mindfulness-based program all experienced a positive outcome. Student teachers reported improvements in their ability to give more appropriate support for students and in personal well-being. Experienced teachers had an improved sense of ability to manage their classrooms and have more supportive relationships with students (Jennings et al., 2011; Jennings et al., 2013).
  • Student teachers who participated in an 8-week elective University course experienced increases in self rated mindfulness, satisfaction in life, health, and teaching self-efficacy. They described being more able to monitor their own stress levels and the impacts of this on their class. As a result, several integrated mindfulness practice into their classes (Poulin et al., 2008).
  • In a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course adapted for teachers, teachers experienced a reduction in psychological symptoms and burnout, improvements in observer-rated classroom organization and an increase in self-compassion (Flook et al., 2013).

Research Supporting Mindfulness for Parents:
Mindfulness has also been shown to make a difference in the lives of parents and how they parent their children:

  • Parents of children with special needs who participated in a 5-week mindfulness-training program experienced positive increases in their mindfulness, awareness, patience, and empathy. They also reported an increase in forgiveness of the self and others, and sense of personal growth, and reductions in stress and anxiety. Overall they were more conscious of the way they processed their emotions and were less judgmental and more tolerant of themselves and others. (Benn et al, 2012).
  • Mindfulness applied to parenting encourages parents to intentionally bring moment-to-moment awareness to the parent–child relationship. Exercises in mindfulness promote several important parenting skills including the development of attentive listening, emotional awareness, self-regulation, along with compassion and nonjudgmental acceptance to parenting interactions. (Duncan et al., 2009).
  • Mindfulness practiced by parents has the potential to reduce parental stress and reactivity, improve parental executive functioning that reduces impulsivity, and improve martial relationships and co-parenting (Bogels et al., 2010).
  • In an 8-week program for parents and their children ages 8-12 years old with ADHD , there was a significant increase of mindful awareness reduction of parental stress and over reactivity (Van der Oord et al., 2012).

To keep up to date with Mindfulness Research, visit the American Mindfulness Research Association, which offers a monthly newsletter offering current information on the latest findings.

Our Research:
In addition to highlighting how other studies have discovered the benefits of mindfulness, the team at Mindfulness First conducts our own internal research to measure the effectiveness of our programs. We use both qualitative and quantitative data to understand how students, teachers, and parents respond to mindfulness instruction and what kind of differences it is making in their lives.

Click here to contact us and learn more about our research!

References:

Benn, R., Akiva, T., Arel, S., and Roeser, R.W. (2012). “Mindfulness training effects for parents and educators of children with special needs”. Developmental Psychology, 48(5), 1476-1487.

Black, D. S., & Fernando, R. (2014). Mindfulness training and classroom behavior among lower-income and ethnic minority elementary school children. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 23(7), 1242-1246.

Bögels, S. M., Lehtonen, A., & Restifo, K. (2010). Mindful parenting in mental health care. Mindfulness, 1(2), 107-120.

Bowers, T. (2004). “Stress, teaching and teacher health”. Education, 3–13(32), 73–80.

Duncan, L. G., Coatsworth, J. D., & Greenberg, M. T. (2009). A model of mindful parenting: Implications for parent–child relationships and prevention research. Clinical child and family psychology review, 12(3), 255-270.

Flook, L., Goldberg, S.B., Pinger, L., Bonus, K. and Davidson, R.J. (2013) “Mindfulness for teachers: a pilot study to assess effects on stress, burnout and teaching efficacy.” Mind, Brain and Education 7 (3): 10.

Franco, C., Mañas, L., Cangas, J.A., and Gallego, J. (2011). “Exploring the effects of a mindfulness program for students of secondary school”. International Journal of Knowledge Society Research, 2(1), 14-28.
Jennings, P., Snowberg, K., Coccia, M., and Greenberg, M. (2011). “Improving classroom learning environments by cultivating awareness and resilience in education (CARE): Results of two pilot studies”. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 46 (1), 37-48.

Jennings, Patricia A.; Frank, Jennifer L.; Snowberg, Karin E.; Coccia, Michael A.; Greenberg, Mark T., (2013) . Improving classroom Learning Environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE):

Manas, I.M., Justo, C.F., and Martinez, E.J. (2011). “Reducing levels of teacher stress and the days of sick leave in secondary school teachers through a mindfulness training programs”. Clinicia Y Salud, 22(2), 121-137.

Napoli, M., Krech, P. R., & Holley, L. C. (2005). Mindfulness training for elementary school students: The attention academy. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 21(1), 99-125.

Poulin, P.A. Corey, M.A., Mackenzie, C.S. Soloway, G. and Karayolas, E. (2008) “Mindfulness training as an evidenced-based approach to reducing stress and promoting well-being among human services professionals,” International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 46:2, 72-80.

Van der Oord, S., Bögels, S. M., & Peijnenburg, D. (2012). The effectiveness of mindfulness training for children with ADHD and mindful parenting for their parents. Journal of child and family studies, 21(1), 139-147.