Off the mat: Piloting a mindfulness based curriculum with adolescents in East Harlem

Maureen Braun, Brenda Levy, Geoffrey Collins, Leora Mogilner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Stress is known to contribute to physical and mental health morbidity. Research in adults suggests that mindfulness-based practices (MBP) can reduce stress and improve physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Data on the effects of MBP in youth, however, is limited. Hypothesis: Teaching MBP to adolescents will reduce stress and improve coping ability. Methods: Ten weekly sessions were held, each including a discussion about a mindfulness-based theme, yoga, meditation, healthful snacks, and a health question and answer session. The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) was administered pre and post-intervention to measure self-reported stress. Participants also completed pre/post-surveys about their attitudes toward doctors as well as a program evaluation. Paired ttests were used to analyze responses. Results: Fourteen female participants ages 12-17 enrolled with 100% completing all surveys. The pre and post-intervention mean PSS-10 scores were 28.9 and 25.6 respectively (p=0.053). Participants' feelings of nervousness and stress decreased (p = 0.027), confidence in ability to handle personal problems increased (p = 0.048), and ability to control irritations increased (p=0.029). On a scale with 1=disagree a lot and 5=agree a lot, 100% of participants agreed that the program was of value to them (mean 4.9). Conclusions: A MBP curriculum may increase coping ability and decrease feelings of stress in high-risk urban adolescents. Larger studies are needed to confirm these findings and to determine whether these changes will ultimately impact adolescent behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironment and Hope
Subtitle of host publicationImproving Health, Reducing AIDS and Promoting Food Security in the World
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781633217829
ISBN (Print)9781633217720
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2014


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