Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

School-based mindfulness instruction for urban male youth: A small randomized controlled trial

TitleSchool-based mindfulness instruction for urban male youth: A small randomized controlled trial
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsSibinga, EM, Perry-Parrish, C, Chung, SE, Johnson, SB, Smith, M, Ellen, JM
JournalPreventive Medicine
Date PublishedDec
ISBN Number1096-0260 (Electronic)0091-7435 (Linking)
Accession Number24029559

OBJECTIVES: Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has been shown to improve mental health and reduce stress in a variety of adult populations. Here, we explore the effects of a school-based MBSR program for young urban males. PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: In fall 2009, 7th and 8th graders at a small school for low-income urban boys were randomly assigned to 12-session programs of MBSR or health education (Healthy Topics-HT). Data were collected at baseline, post-program, and three-month follow-up on psychological functioning; sleep; and salivary cortisol, a physiologic measure of stress. RESULTS: Forty-one (22 MBSR and 19 HT) of the 42 eligible boys participated, of whom 95% were African American, with a mean age of 12.5years. Following the programs, MBSR boys had less anxiety (p=0.01), less rumination (p=0.02), and showed a trend for less negative coping (p=0.06) than HT boys. Comparing baseline with post-program, cortisol levels increased during the academic terms for HT participants at a trend level (p=0.07) but remained constant for MBSR participants (p=0.33). CONCLUSIONS: In this study, MBSR participants showed less anxiety, improved coping, and a possible attenuation of cortisol response to academic stress, when compared with HT participants. These results suggest that MBSR improves psychological functioning among urban male youth.