PROGRAM EVALUATION: MINDFULNESS PRACTICE IN AN ALTERNATIVE MIDDLE SCHOOL by ALICIA VEGA B.S., Loyola University Chicago, 2013 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Psychology School Psychology Program 2018
ii 2017 ALICIA VEGA ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
iii This thesis for the Doctor of Psychology degree by Alicia Vega has been approved for the School Psychology Program by Bryn Harris, Chair Franci Crepeau Hobson Lisa Geissler Date: May 12 201 8
iv Vega Alicia (PsyD., School Psychology Program) Program Evaluation: Mindfulness Practice in an Alternative Middle School Thesis directed by Associate Professor Bryn Harris ABSTRACT This study serves as a program evaluation of a mindfulness intervention used in an Alternative Middle School. Teacher and self ratings were given at the start of the intervention, and again at the end of the intervention to determine the impacts of mindfulness practice on c ontrol, participation in class, social care for other, and healthy coping skills at school The results indicate a significant difference in the area of attention. This end to academic tasks in the classroom from the beginning of the intervention to the end of the intervention. Differences were also seen in the other areas examined (self control, participation in class, social care for others, and healthy coping skills) however, these differences were not statistically significant. The results of this program evaluation signify that mindfulness interventions can be useful in schools for students who have difficulty attending to tasks in the classroom. Furthermore, the res ults indicate that fu ture research should be done to examine the impacts of mindfulness intervention on attention, self control, participation in class, social care for others, and healthy coping skills with larger sample sizes to determine if significant differences can be found. Additionally, future research should focus on the impact of mindfulness on these dependent variables across a variety of ages and with diverse populations. The form and content of this abstract are approved by. I recommend its pub lication. Approved: Bryn Harris
v TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION 1 II. LITERATURE REVIEW: MINDFULNESS IN SCHOOLS 4 a. 5 b. Impact of Mindfulness on Attention c. Impact of Mindfulness on Executive Function 7 d. Impact of Mindfulness on Emotional Control ..7 e. Limitations of Current Research ..8 f. Summary III. METHODS .. 10 a. Participants 0 b. Materials 0 c. Procedures 2 IV. RESULTS 5 a. Teacher Ratings 5 b. Student Ratings 1 6 V. DISCU SSION 1 8 REFERENCES 21 APPENDIX A. Kinder Associates Behavioral Rubric 24 B. H ealthy Self Regulation (HSR) Subscale 25
vi LIST OF T ABLES TABLE 1. Paired Sample T Test Results Teacher Rating 6 2. Paired Sample T Test Results Self Rating 27
1 C HAPTER I I NTRODUCTION Children attend elementary school starting as early as age 4, and spend a large amount of their days in their schools. Some children are more successful in tradition al schools than others, and t ucceed in a tradition al school. Some of these factors include: cognitive functioning, attention skills executive functions, and social emotional functioning (McClelland et al., 2007; Welsh, Nix, Blair, Bierman, & Nelson, 2010) These factors can vary grea tly for every child and impact their school experience A suburban district in the mountain west region of the United States has recognized that not all students are able to succeed at traditional schools, and created an alternative program as an option fo r students within their district. The alternative secondary program (ASP) is made up of a middle school and a high school. Students who attend this alternative program are placed there by choice, and are often referred to explore it as an option by staff a t their home schools. The district cannot require any student to attend this program, but provides it as a choice for those who are having difficulty or are not satisfied with their experiences at their home school. The program offers smaller class sizes, a required social emotional curriculum mental health support, restorative justice practices, and the staff prides themselves on the relationships they build with their students. Many of the students who choose to attend ASP have experienced adverse events throughout their lives, psychological trauma, and/or are facing struggles related to their social emotional functioning, which can impede on their ability to do well at a traditional school. Research examining the impacts and outcomes for s tudents with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) indicates that these students are more likely to experience mental health difficulties, such
2 as experiencing depressive disorders (Chapman et al., 2004), and substance abuse (Anda et al, 2002). Additionally Felitti et al. (1998) also found ACEs to be related to increased physical health difficulties. Lastly, Burke, Hellman, Scott, Weems, and Carrion (2011) found ACEs to be related to learning/academic problems. With the knowledge of this research the progr am aims to combat these negative outcomes, and help their students find the path to more positive outcomes. One way t he staff at ASP tries to combat the possible negative outcomes for their students is by taking a Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) approa ch to working with students The CPS approach focuses on the relationship between the adult and child, and the process of solving problems by examining needs and situational factors in order to determine an appro priate intervention (Allen & Gra den, 2002). Research conducted by (Greene et al., 2004) indicates that CPS is a useful behavioral model of intervention for students who are affectively dysregulated and exhibit behaviors common in Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and the CPS model was found to be more effective than parent training, which is another commonly used intervention. The staff at ASP believe that the students are doing the best they can, and are always trying to determine by working with the student Wi th this approach, the staff aims to build relationships with their students, and help students learn the skills they need to be successful in school and in the real world. To start, m any of these skills are developed during the Discovery class, which each new incoming student is required to take and pass. The program was developed by Eric Larsen, an alternative high school teacher, in the early 1990s and has since been used across the country by other schools ( n.d.). Through this progra m, students learn social emotional skills for success in any setting such as: group skills, anger management, effective communication, assertiveness, problem solving, and conflict resolution (
3 n.d.) Students at ASP take the course durin g their first quarter at the school. Instead of having the class for one period in their schedule, the students take part in this class all day, with the exception of physical education and art. However, topics from the curriculum are tied into their physi cal education and art classes, so students are learning and practicing their new skills during their entire school day every day for a full quarter (about 9 weeks). The class is taught by a licensed teacher who has received training in the program and is passionate about the curriculum Although the school provides much more support than traditional schools, the staff is continually striving to improve their program to help students operate at their greatest potential to succeed. During the 2016 2017 s chool year, staff sought to improve the social emotional support provided to the middle school students a t ASP due to difficulties exhibited by students to sustain attention and regulate emotions in class A group of staff members (Math teacher, Language A rts teacher, and Mental Health Staff ) agreed upon adding the practice of mindfulness through the use of the Mindful Schools curriculum and other various mindfulness practices (deep breathing, mindful coloring, guided meditation, etc ). This research project serves as a program evaluation to evaluate the outcomes of the addition of mindfulness for students attending ASP as indicated by the students and teachers. In order to determine if the incorporation of mindfulness is benefi cial for the students at ASP the following questions will be examined and answered: What impact did mindfulness practice have control, participation, and social care for others, as reported by the teachers? What impact has min dfulness practice had on student perceptions of their ability to calm themselves and use healthy coping skills?
4 CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW: MINDFULNESS IN THE SCHOOLS The history of mindfulness and meditation goes back centuries and was originated in multiple religions. The most commonly known historical use of mindfulness and meditation is within the religion of Buddhism. Buddhists used meditation to calm the mind an d to find meaning (Felver, Doerner, Jones, Kaye, & Merrell, 201 3). Mindfulness, defined as the practice of paying attention on purpose without judgement, has recently gained new uses in the field of psychology, because of research and the intervention program developed by Jon Kabat Zinn. Kabat Zinn has spent time rese arching the effects of practicing mindfulness on c ognition and stress reduction (Felver et. al, 2013). Following this research, which showed encouraging evidence of positive effects resulting from practicing mindfulness, mindfulness moved from a spiritual practice to a scientific and secular practice (Kang & Whittingham, 2010) So, mindfulness in psychology gained popularity. Over the years, research examining the effects of mindfulness has moved from adults in clinical settings to other populations in othe r settings. For example, the most recent population and setting that has gained traction within this area of study are children and schools (Greenberg & Harris, 2011) Researchers have begun examining the feasibility of implementing mindfulness interventio ns in schools and the impact of children and adolescents practicing mindfulness (Greenberg & Harris, 2011) Researchers in the field are seeking to determine what role a ttention, executive function, and emotional control.
5 Feasibility The idea of feasibility when implementing an intervention in a school is always an important factor. Schools have many standards and requirements which they must meet, and often, if an inter vention is not inherently feasible to the school setting, it can be difficult for stakeholders to find reason enough to support the implementation of the intervention. Thus, the feasibility of mindfulness interventions helps them pass one obstacle to being implemented within the schools. The feasibility and ease of using mindfulness interventions in the school setting are noted as positives within the current research (Burke, 2009) It is suggested that mindfulness can be implemented within schools at all l evels of three tiered support systems, such as Response to Intervention (RtI) and Multi Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) on a school wide level, in small groups, or on an individual level (Felver et. al, 2013). Other researchers, such as Leland (2015), sup port the feasibility of using mindfulness interventions within schools because they can be cost effective and easily worked into the curriculum on their own or in conjunction with existing courses that incorporate social emotional learning. Furthermore, Me ndelson et. al (2010) found a mindfulness intervention (a program that was created by Holistic Life Foundation and incorporated yoga, breathing techniques, and guided mindfulness practices ) used with 4 th and 5 th graders to be feasible due to student and te acher rated acceptability of the intervention. Impact of Mindfulness on Attention Apart from feasibility, interventions and their positive outcomes for students must be supported by research in order for stakeholders to support their implementation. As re search of mindfulness with children is evolving, outcomes related to important areas of student development, functioning, and skill acquisition are being studied. Due to the heavy emphasis on
6 attention that the practice of mindfulness incorporates, many re searchers have examined the 2015) points out, students who practice mindfulness are better able to focus because when they practice mindfulness they are practicing focus and attention, while letting go of distractions. Another study, conducted by Raffone, Tagini, and Srinivasan (2010), also studied the impact of mindfulness on attention. They explain that there are two different types of mindfulness focused attenti on and open monitoring. Focused attention mindfulness is when the person practicing mindfulness focuses on one object or stimuli, whereas open monitoring mindfulness is when the person practicing it monitors the surroundings as they occur. The researchers (Raffone et al., 2010) found that practicing focused monitoring made it easier to sustain attention, while also noticing and dismissing distractions with ease. They also found the practice of open monitoring to increase distributed attention and conflict m onitoring (Raffone et al., 2010). Finally, a study conducted with adolescents with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) found attentional increases post mindfulness training as evidenced by computer based attention assessments and self report r atings (Van de Weijer Bergsma, Formsma, Bruin, & Bogels, 2011). The findings related to practicing mindfulness and attention are promising, and provide important information to consider when determining if a mindfulness intervention should be implemented i n a school. Increased attention can help students within the classroom as they learn and take in new information, and outside of the classroom as they practice their newly learned knowledge.
7 Impact of Mindfulness on Executive Function In addition to improvements in attentional skills, other research has also found support for a positive impact on executive function s (Flook et al., 2010) (EF). EF are comprised of 8 different skills impulse control, emotional control, flexible thinking, working memory, self monitoring, and planning and prioritizing ( Morin, 2014 ). These skills develop over time as the brain grows and develops and play a vital role in day to day functioning as children grow older ( Jurado & Rosselli, 2007). Upon carrying out and examining neuroimaging of students who have participated in a mindfulness intervention, Tang, Yang, Leve, and Harold (2012) found that there was activation in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) which is located in the prefrontal cortex an d is associated with EF. The development of EF are associated with positive outcomes, such as increased self efficacy and self esteem, increased display of attentional skills, and a greater ability to take the perspectives of others (Tang et al., 2012). Al rates in schools academically (Best, Miller, & Naglieri 2007) as well as socially (Riggs, Jahromi, Razza, Dillworth Bart, & Mueller, 2006) Impact of Mindfulness on Emotional Control Another outcome o f practicing mindfulness that has been studied is emotional control. In education, a greater spotlight has been put on social emotional functioning recently, and one key aspect of that is emotional control. Broderick and Jennings (2012) identify emotional control as an important contributor to emotional and behavioral difficulties in children (e.g., depression, self control in a variety of studies. Zelazo and Lyons (2 012) explain that mindfulness stops automatic emotional responses, which increases emotional stability and emotional control. Furthermore, a
8 study examining the social emotional outcomes for the use of mindfulness with high school students found improvemen as cited by Zelazo & Lyons, 2012). As Broderick and Jennings (2012) describe, mindfulness impacts emotional control because it helps children develop their metacognitive skills, which mak es it easier for them to identify the thoughts that give way to emotional dysregulation. Similarly, in a review of research regarding mindfulness and student success, Leland (2015) discovered links between mindfulness and emotional control, as well as self awareness. Leland (2015) attributes the changes in emotional control to an improved ability to stop and think about their emotions, their options for reacting, and solutions to their current problems. This reasoning indicates that mindfulness allows stude nts to learn skills to become more self aware and think using metacognition, which in turn increases their ability to control their emotions and reduce their problem behaviors. This reduction of problem behaviors can be associated with improved peer relati ons and conflict management skills (Leland, 2015). Limitations of Current Research The findings of research conducted examining the outcomes of mindfulness interventions are promising. However, the research is not without limitations. Many of the studies conducted had small sample sizes, which can make it difficult to generalize their results to the population. Furthermore, although research is starting to be done with more diverse populations (e.g., students from low socio economic status, ethnically dive rse populations, and students with learning difficulties or developmental disorders), more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of mindfulness interventions with diverse populations. Finally, most research conducted compared the impact of a mi ndfulness intervention with a control group, but not much
9 research has been done comparing the effectiveness of mindfulness interventions to that of other types of social emotional interventions. It would be beneficial to determine how these effects compar e because mindfulness interventions may be more cost effective, feasible to implement, and more accepted by staff and students which would give them an advantage for being implemented Summary Thus far, the research examining school based mindfulness interventions has had promising results. Researchers have found support for the feasibility and ease of implementation of mindfulness interventions in schools with children. They have also found evidence that mindfulness interventions have the potential to emotional control, which are all beneficial for student success within the school system (Best, Miller, & Naglieri, 2007; Leland, 2015) Moving forward, more research should be conducted with larger sample si zes and more diverse populations. Research should also focus on how the impacts of mindfulness compare to other social emotional interventions that schools may already be using.
10 CHAPTER III METHODS Participants The sample includ ed all students who attended ASP from the first quarter of the 2016 2017 school year to the end of the 2016 2017 school year (n=29) Some students, including those who left the school mid year and those who came to the school after the first quarter were omitted from the sample due to insuffi cient data (i.e. lack of either pre or post data measures). The samples for the self and teacher ratings differed for many reasons, for example, some students were absent when data was collected, and other students transferred to different programs/ schools mid year. The sample for the teacher rating consisted of 29 students. Of these students, 16 were males and 13 were females. The sample was spread across three grade levels from 6 th grade to 8 th grade; 1 student was in 6 th grade, 5 students were in 7 th grade, and 23 students were in 8 th grade. The sample for self rating consisted of 20 students. This sample consisted of 11 males, and 9 females. This sample was spread across two grade levels; 6 of the students were in 7 th grade, and 14 of the student s were in 8 th grade. Materials The main intervention for participants occurred through the Language Arts teacher incorporating lessons from the Mindful Schools curriculum in her classes, as well as teaching the practice of yoga one day during the week. Other teachers also incorporated mindfulness lessons within their classrooms throughout the day, such as guided meditation following lunch to help students regulate and regain their attention. Additionally, the mental health providers including the School Psychologist and 2 externs incorporated and encouraged mindfulness practice in
11 sessions with students to help regulate emotions an d focus during the school day however, this occurred on a case by case level and not all students spent individual time with the School Psychologist and/or the 2 externs curriculum is a curriculum that can be taught by educators, mental health professionals, and even parents. There is an online training course offered to those interested in teaching the curriculum The Language Arts teacher who taught Mindfulness Schools curriculum completed this training course to gain access to the curriculum and learn proper implementation of the curriculum. The middle and high school curriculum contains 25 modules that cover a broad range of topics related to mindfulness practice This includes breathing exercises, body scans, and incorporating mindfulness into the use of the five senses The curriculum also presents research related to mindfulness to students in an engaging way, so they can become familiar with the benefits of mindfulness practice Lastly, the curriculum comes with an abundance of additional resources, such as guided meditations, games, and additional classroom activitie To determine the impact of the incorporatio n of mindfulness practice at ASP, data was collected and analyzed In the fall of 2016 preliminary measures were given to assess the The teachers were given the Kinder Associates Behavioral Rubric (KABR) to complete for each student This rubric contains four items rated on a 4 point scale that examine skills related to attention, self control, participation, and caring for others ; these items are all added together to yield a total score This measure is recommended by the Mindful Schools Program to be used as a source of data to examine the
12 impacts of their program (Smith, Guzman Alvarez, Westover, Keller, & Fuller, 2012), and was developed by Kinder Associates, LLC, a business that helps individuals develop mindfulness skills, in 2007 (Black & Fernando, 2014). This measure was found to have strong rel iability test = .87, follow up = .86; 5 week test retest r = .51, p < .001) by Black and Fernando (2014) when examining the effects of mindfulness interventions in the school setting. See Appendix A for this measure. Students were also given a preliminary measure to assess their personal perception of their emotional regulation skills. This measure is named the Healthy Self Regulation Scale (HSR) and it is a subscale of the Mindful Thinking and Action Scale for Adol escents. The scale contains 12 items which are rated on a 6 and their coping skills. The HSR does not yield a total score, due to some items being positive and some items being negative. This scale was chosen because it is found to be sensitive to finding the effects of mindfulness training with adolescents ( De Bruin, Zijlstra, Weijer Berg sma, & Bogels, 2011) and has been validated through studies involving adolescent populations (Brown, West, Loverich, & Biegel, 2011). See Appendix B for this measure. These same measures were also given in the spring of 2017 following the implementation of the intervention for the majority of the school year. Procedures To examine the effects o f the mindfulness intervention a non experimental single group pre and post test design was used T he mindfulness training intervention was considered the independ ent variable, and multiple dependent variables were examined. The dependent variables include: attention, self control, participation in school social care for others, and healthy coping
13 skills The dependent variables were measured throug h the te acher (KABR) and self reports (HSR) The teacher and self reports were given a t two times throughout the evaluation once before the intervention in the fall of 2016, and once after the intervention in the spring of 2017 T he teachers were instructed to compl ete the KABR for each student and to honestly rate the these instructions were consistent during both administrations of this survey Teachers were expected to complete the surveys during their plan ning p eriod The students were also given the HSR at the same times the teachers were given the KABR The students were allowed to take as muc h time as they needed during their language arts class period to complete the HSR. Each time the students were given th e scale they were told that there are no correct or incorrect responses and that they should complete it honestly to represent their own experience s Following the collection of both the preliminary data (Fall 2016) and the post intervention data (Spring 2017) statistical analyses were conducted to determine the impacts of the intervention on the previously named dependent variables. To begin, since multiple teachers filled out KABRs for each student, the means of each item score s and the total s core s for each individual student were found to help determine each the KABR. The means were found for both the pre te st and the post test. Next, multiple paired samples t test were conducted for both the KABR and th e HSR to determine if there was a significant difference between the pre tests and post tests. These analyses aimed to determine if the intervention ch control, participation, and social care own healthy coping skills changed. Paired samples t test s were conducted for each individual item and the total score on the KABR, which examined the dependent variables of attention, self control, participa tion in
14 school, and care for others. Paired samples t tests were also conducted for items 6, 7, 8, and 12 on the HSR which examined the healthy coping dependent variable. Item 6 states: My anger comes on too fast for me to stay in control. Item 7 states: When I get annoyed I have a healthy way to calm down. Item 8 states: I recognize when I am getting upset and calm myself. Item 12 states: I have a healthy and natural way to relax. The null hypothesis for these analyses stated that there were no differences found between the pre and the post test measures for the dependent variables, and the experimental hypothesis stated there were differences found between the pre and p ost test measures for the dependent variables.
15 CHAPTER IV R ESULTS Teacher Ratings The pre and post KABR ratings which were given about 6 months apart, were examined using paired samples t tests. First, for each student, the average rating for the Mental, Emotional, Physical, Social, and Total score items were found for both the pre rating and post rating. Once the means were found the paired samples t tests were conducted for each item on the KABR, including the Total score The results of the pai red samples t tests (two tailed) indi cate a significant difference between the scores for the pre ratings (M=2.74, SD= 0 .68 ) and the post ratings (M=2.94, SD=0.63) for the Mental item (i.e. the measure used for the dependent variable of attention) on the KA BR; =2.92 p=.006. For the Emotional item, which was used to measure the dependent variable of self control, no significant difference was found between the scores for the pre ratings (M=2.81, SD=0.76) and the post ratings (M=2.87, SD=0.68); = 0.71, p=0.48. Next, for the Physical item on the KABR which was used to measure the dependent variable of participa tion in class a slight increase was seen between the scores for the pre ratings (M=2.97, SD=0.54) and the post ratings (M=3.14, SD=0.47) h owever, this difference is not significantly different when looking at the two tailed p value ; = 1.88, p= 0 .07. Interestingly, when looking at the one tail p value, a significant difference was found between the pre rating and post rating scores for the Physical item; =1.88, p=0.04. This significance indicates that the significant difference only occurred in the positive direction (i.e. there was an increase from the pre ratings to the post ratings). The Social item measured the dependent variable o f care for others, and another slight increase was found between the scores for the pre ratings (M=2.88, SD=0.71) and the post ratings (M=3.02, SD=0.68) but again, this
16 increase was not found to be a significant difference ; = 1.28, p= 0 .21. Finally, fo r the Total score item no significant difference was found between the scores for the pre ratings (M=11.39, SD=2.42) and the post ratings (M=11.97, SD=2.14) when looking at the two tailed p vale ; = 1.92, p= 0 .06. However, when looking at the one tail p value the increase in ratings from the pre ratings to the post ratings was found to be significantly different; =1.92, p=0.03. These results indicate that for the dependent variable of attention the null hypoth esis is rejected, and the implementation of the mindfulness failure to reject the null hypothesis for the remaining dep endent variables of self control, participation in class, and care for others due to a lack of significant differences between the pre ratings and post ratings Furthermore, the lack of significant difference between the pre and post ratings for the Total score item indicate that, overall, the implementation of m indfulness did the dependent variables together. It is important to note, that although examining the o ne tail p values was not specified in the hypothesis due to no directionality being named, the increase between the pre ratings and post ratings in the areas of participation and the Total score item was found to be significant according to the one tail p value. This indicates that the mindfulness intervention did have a positive impact on these areas as well, but not as defined by the research hypothesis. Student Ratings The student self report ratings (HSR) were used to measure the dependent variable of healthy coping skills. As mentioned above, items 6, 7, 8, and 12 were analyzed using paired samples t tests to look for significant differences between the pre and post ratings. The results
17 of the paired sam ples t test for item 6 on the HSR indicate a slight decrease in scores between the pre ratings (M=3.35, SD=1.73) and the post ratings (M=2.65, SD=1.22), however, this is not a significant difference when looking at the two tailed p value ; = 2.01, p=0 .06. Interestingly, when examining the one tail p value for the difference between the pre ratings and post ratings for item 6 a significant difference was found; = 2.01, p=0.03. This indicates that there was a significant decrease from the pre ratin gs to the post ratings in the frequency that students felt they could not control their anger. For item 7, another small decrease was seen between the pre ratings (M=3.6, SD=1.47) and the post ratings (M=3.4, SD=1.66), but this is also not a significant di fference; = 0.50, p=0.62. Next, the scores for item 8 showed another slight decrease between the pre ratings (M=3.65, SD=1.46) and the post ratings (M=3.45, SD=1.57), but this is not a significant difference; = 0.43, p=0.67 Lastly, the scores for item 12 show a slight increase between the pre ratings (M=3.85, SD=1.63) and the post ratings (M=4, SD=1.69), however, this difference was not found to be significant; =0.53, p=0.61. These results show that m indfulness did not have any statistical impact on student perceptions of their own healthy coping skills thus there is a failure to reject the null hypothesis for the dependent variable of healthy coping skills However, it is important to note that the decrease in frequency that students felt they could not control their anger was significantly different when looking at the one tail p value, although examining the one tail p value was not specified by the research hypothesis due to no directionality for differences being stated.
18 CHAPTER V D ISCUS SION The results obtained from this study indicate that the null hypothesis was rejected for the dependent variable of attention, which supports the experimental hypothesis that the Mindfulness intervention had a significant impact o the remaining dependent variables self control, participation, care for others, and healthy coping skills the results indicate a failure to reject the null h ypothesis, which indicates the m self control, participation, and care for others. However, when only looking for an increase as the differences between ratings, additional significant differen ces were found for participation and the Total item score. In addition, this indicates that the mindfulness intervention did not have a unexpected when compar ed to research supporting the use of Mindfulness, as they only show impact in one area of functioning. One reason these results differ from other research examining mindfulness interventions may be due to a smaller samp le size; the sample size for this s tudy was smaller than the actual sample size who received the intervention due to missing data points and students joining the school at different times. Furthermore, the students who participated in this study were attending the alternative school because in many cases, their difficult behaviors and/or mental health challenges were more impactful than those of their same age peers in a traditional education setting. This difference may have impacted the significance of the impact of the m indfulness interv ention (i.e. the impact of the intervention for students with more significant needs is likely not comparable to the impact of the intervention for students with less significant needs).
19 This study did have some limitations that may have impacted the resu lts. First, there was nothing done to monitor the fidelity with whic h the intervention was implemented Teachers responsible for implementing the intervention we re left to the honors system, and there was no feedback given to teachers regarding their deliv ery of the intervention. Second, missing data points for pre and post measures made the already small sample size even smaller, and so the results do not includ e data points for every student who received the intervention. Lastly, the lack of a control gr oup did not allow for an examination of how the sample of students who received the intervention would compare to a group of students who did not receive the intervention. While the results of this study were mostly unexpected, the impact of the interven tion on student attention is pro mising, and shows support that m indfulness has the ability to impact student functioning. Furthermore, the additional significant impacts found on participation, the Total item score, and item 6 on the HSR when using only th e one tail p value, show promise for single direction impacts in these areas. Moving forward, research examining Mindfulness in schools should aim to have larger sample sizes and should monitor the fidelity with which the intervention is implemented. Furthermore, a longitudinal study would be helpful in noting the long term impacts of mindfulness practice for students ; for example, is there an impact on graduation rates, grades, and/or student satisfaction at school? Future research should aim to answe r questions such as: How long does mindfulness need to be practiced to create an impact in multiple areas of functioning and improve academic achievement ? How do the impacts of mindfulness practice differ between age groups (i.e. elementary school v. high school)? How do the impacts of mindfulness compare to other social emotional interventions within schools? What do the impacts of mindfulness look like for diverse/unique populations within schools ?
20 Answering these questions will help fill in the gaps in t he research base for mindfulness interventions within education. Furthermore, answering these questions will help educators make more informed decisions when determining how beneficial a mindfulness intervention might be for their students.
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22 Felitti, V. J., Anda, R. F., Nordenberg D., Williamson, D. F., Spitz, A. M., Edwards, V., ... & Marks, J. S. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. American journal of preventive medicine 14 (4), 245 258. Felver J. C., Doerner, E., Jones, J., Kaye, N. C., & Merrell, K. W. (2013). Mindfulness in school psychology: applications for intervention and professional practice. Psychology in the Schools 50 (6), 531 547. doi: 10.1002/pits.21695 Flook, L., Smalley, S. L., Kitil, M. J., Galla, B. M., Kaiser Greenland, S., Locke, J., ... & Kasari, C. (2010). Effects of mindful awareness practices on executive functions in elementary school children. Journal of Applied School Psychology 26 (1), 70 95. doi: 10.1080/15377900903379125 Greenberg, M. T., & Harris, A. R. (2012). Nurturing mindfulness in children and youth: Current state of research. Child Development Perspectives 6 (2), 161 166. doi: 10.1111/j.1750 8606.2011.00215.x Greene, R. W., Ablon, J. S., Gor ing, J. C., Raezer Blakely, L., Markey, J., Monuteaux, M. C., ... & Rabbitt, S. (2004). Effectiveness of collaborative problem solving in affectively dysregulated children with oppositional defiant disorder: I nitial findings. Journal of consulting and clin ical psychology 72 (6), 1157. Jurado, M. B., & Rosselli, M. (2007). The elusive nature of executive functions: a review of our current understanding. Neuropsychology review 17 (3), 213 233. doi: 10.1007/s11065 007 9040 z Kang, C., & Whittingham, K. (2010). Mindfulness: A dialogue between Buddhism and clinical psychology. Mindfulness 1 (3), 161 173. doi: 10.1007/s12671 010 0018 1 Leland, M. (2015). Mindfulness and Student Success. Journal of Adult Education 44 (1), 19. Program o verview (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.discoveryprogram.net/program overview/ McClelland, M. M., Cameron, C. E., Wanless, S. B., Murray, A., Saracho, O. N., & Spodek, B. (2007). Executive function, behavioral self regulation, and social emotional competence. Contemporary perspectives on social learning in early childhood education 1 113 137. Mendelson, T., Greenberg, M. T., Dariotis, J. K., Gould, L. F., Rhoades, B. L., & Leaf, P. J. (2010). Feasibility and preliminary outcomes o f a school based mindfulness intervention for urban youth. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 38 (7), 985 994. doi:10.1007/s10802 010 9418 x Mindful Educator Essentials (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.mindfulschools.org/training/mindful educator essentials/
23 Morin, A. (2014). At a glance: 8 key executive functions. Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/learning attention issues/child learning disabilities/ex ecutive functioning issues/key executive functioning skills explained Raffone, A., Tagini, A., & Srinivasan, N. (2010). Mindfulness and the cognitive neuroscience of attention and awareness. Zygon 45 (3), 627 646. Resources Multimedia (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.mindfulschools.org/resources/explore mindful res ources/#resources starter lesson Riggs, N. R., Jahromi, L. B., Razza R. P., Dillworth Bart, J. E., & Mueller, U. (2006). Executive function and the promotion of social emotional competence. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 27 (4), 300 309. doi: 10.1016/j.appdev.2006.04.002 Smith, A., Guzman Alvarez, A., Westover T., Keller, S., & Fuller, S. (2012). Mindful Schools program evaluation. Unpublished manuscript, Center for Education and Evaluation Services, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA Tang, Y. Y., Yang, L., Leve, L. D., & Harold, G. T. (2012). Improving executive f u nction and its neurobiological m echanis ntervention: Advances w it hin the field of developmental n euroscience. Child Development Perspectives 6 (4), 361 366. doi:10.1111/j.1750 8606.2012.00250.x Van de Weijer Bergsma, E., Formsma, A. R., de Bruin, E. I., & Bgels, S. M. (2012). The effectiveness of mindfulness training on behavioral problems and attentional functioning in adolescents with ADHD. Journal of Child and Family Studies 21 (5), 775 787. doi:10. 1007/s10826 011 9531 7 Welsh, J. A., Nix, R. L., Blair, C., Bierman, K. L., & Nelson, K. E. (2010). The d evelopment of c ognitive s kills and g ains in a cademic s chool r eadiness for c hildren from l ow i ncome f amilies. Journal of Educational Psychology 102 (1), 43 53. doi: 10.1037/a0016738 Zelazo, P. D., & Lyons, K. E. (2012). The potential benefits of mindfulness training in early childhood: A developmental social cognitive neuroscience perspective. Child Development Perspectives 6 (2), 154 160. doi: 10.1111 /j.1750 8606.2012.00241.x
24 APPENDI X A KINDER ASSOCIATES BEHAVIOR R UBRIC Score Mental Paying Attention Emotional Self Calming/Self Control Physical Self Regulation/Participation Social Care for Others 4 Pays attention all of the time Demonstrates calmness and self control Physically engages in all activities Shows care and respect for teachers and fellow students 3 Pays attention most of the time Demonstrates calmness and self control most of the time Physically engages in most activi ties Shows care and respect most of the time for teachers and fellow students 2 Pays attention some of the time Demonstrates calmness and self control some of the time Physically engages in some activities Shows care and respect some of the time for teach ers and fellow students 1 Needs continual support to pay attention Demonstrates little ability to calm or behavior Needs continual support to participate in class activities Needs continual support to show care and respect for teachers and fellow students 0 Makes no attempt to pay attention Makes no attempt to calm or control behavior Makes no attempt to participate in class activities Makes no attempt to chow care and respect for teachers and fellow students Scores: ______ ____ + _____________ + __________ + ________ = ________ MENTAL EMOTIONAL PHYSICAL SOCIAL TOTAL TEACHER COMMENTS/OBSERVATIONS: ________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
25 A PPENDIX B HEALTHY SELF REGULATION (HSR) SU BSCALE Instructions: For each of the items, please circle the number that reflects your actual experience, not what you believe your experience should be. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Almost Never Very Rarely Somewhat Rarely Somewhat Often Very Of ten Almost Always 1. I accept myself even if I still have things to learn. 1 2 3 4 5 6 2. middle of a task, I can bring my focus back. 1 2 3 4 5 6 3. insulted. 1 2 3 4 5 6 4. Others could describe me as patient with myself. 1 2 3 4 5 6 5. I have a peaceful attitude toward myself. 1 2 3 4 5 6 6. My anger comes on too fast for me to stay in control. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. When I get annoyed I have a healthy way to calm down. 1 2 3 4 5 6 8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 9. I can stop myself from saying mean things. 1 2 3 4 5 6 10. I am known to lose my temper. 1 2 3 4 5 6 11. I am patient with other people. 1 2 3 4 5 6 12. I have a healthy and natural way to relax. 1 2 3 4 5 6
26 TABLE 1 PAIRED SAMPLE T TEST RESULTS TEACHER RATINGS Item Pre Rating Mean Pre Rating Standard Deviation Post Rating Mean Post Rating Standard Deviation Degrees of Freedom T Stat P (two tail) P (one tail) Mental 2.74 0.68 2.94 0.63 28 2.92 0.006 0.003 Emotional 2.81 0.76 2.87 0.68 28 0.71 0.48 0.24 Physical 2.97 0.54 3.14 0.47 28 1.88 0.07 0.04 Social 2.88 0.71 3.01 0.68 28 1.28 0.21 0.10 Total 11.39 2.42 11.97 2.14 28 1.92 0.06 0.03
27 TABLE 2 PAIRED SAM PLE T TEST RESULTS SELF RATINGS Item Pre Rating Mean Pre Rating Standard Deviation Post Rating Mean Post Rating Standard Deviation Degrees of Freedom T Stat P (two tail) P (one tail) Item #6 3.35 1.73 2.65 1.22 19 2.00 0.06 0.03 Item #7 3.60 1.47 3.4 1.67 19 0.50 0.62 0.31 Item #8 3.65 1.46 3.45 1.57 19 0.43 0.67 0.34 Item #12 3.85 1.63 4 1.69 19 0.53 0.60 0.30