Mindfulness-Based Academic Achievement Program for Middle School
Co-Principal Investigator: Janis Kupersmidt
Purpose: Prevention scientists have long recognized the importance of children's social and behavioral skills to support academic success. Mindfulness—defined as being attentive to and aware of what is taking place in the present moment—has recently been considered as one possible social cognitive skill to teach children to support academic success. In particular, mindfulness is conceptualized as leading to increased attention, cognitive control, behavior regulation, and social-emotional competence, as well as an overall more effective and enjoyable learning environment. In this study, the research team will develop and assess the feasibility of a developmentally appropriate mindfulness intervention program for use with middle school students.
Project Activities: The research team will develop lesson content and materials for the 4-week curriculum in collaboration with an expert in mindfulness. Focus groups with 6th- grade students and their teachers will also be used to guide the initial development of the lessons. Each week's lessons and materials will be pilot tested in 6th-grade classrooms, and resulting data and continued feedback from focus groups will be used to make revisions to program content and materials. Finally, the full 4-week curriculum will be field tested in 6th-grade classrooms for feasibility, and to assess the promise of the intervention for producing positive changes in 6th-grade students' mindfulness, attention, and emotion regulation, as well as potential changes in classroom climate.
Products: The products of this project will be a fully developed program for teaching middle school students strategies for improving mindfulness in classroom settings and published reports.
Setting: Middle school classrooms in North Carolina.
Population: Four hundred 6th-grade students and their teachers in middle school health classes will participate in the pilot and feasibility tests.
Intervention: A developmentally appropriate intervention program for use with middle school students that is intended to teach students' strategies for improving mindfulness in classroom settings.
Research Design and Methods: The research team will develop and evaluate the feasibility of the mindfulness curriculum in two phases. First, the four lessons will be pilot tested following initial content and materials development with focus groups and a mindfulness expert. Second, the full mindfulness curriculum will be field tested two times to determine feasibility and assess the promise of the intervention for changing 6th grade students' mindfulness, attention, and emotion regulation, as well as potential changes in classroom climate.
Control Condition: There is no control condition.
Key Measures: Researcher-developed measures will be used to assess program fidelity, dosage, and feasibility: The Teacher Interview Protocol, The Observer Report Checklist, a Curriculum Feasibility Questionnaire, and a Student Overall Program Consumer Satisfaction Questionnaire. Other measures will be used to assess the promise of the program for improving student outcomes: a Homework survey to determine if students learn program content, Mindfulness Thinking and Acting Scale for Adolescents, the Selective Attention subtest of the Test of Everyday Attention for Children (TEA–Ch), the teacher rating scale of the Behavior Assessment for Children – Second Edition (BASC–TRS), and The Emotion Regulation Checklist (ERC) completed by both teachers and parents.
Data Analytic Strategy: Revisions to lessons and materials will be made based upon teacher and student ratings from the focus groups and interview and observational data gathered from piloting of the week's lessons. Changes in student's social and behavior skills after experiencing the program will be assessed using descriptive statistics and a repeated measures analysis of variance on pre- and post-intervention measures taken during the two feasibility studies.