The purpose of this grant proposal is to create and evaluate the feasibility of a mindfulness-based coping program for adolescents in high school. Many adolescents experience school-related stress on a daily basis, especially those students making the transition from middle school to high school. Because some high school students lack the necessary coping skills to effectively deal with stress, they are in need of new ways to manage their daily lives. Mindfulness training is one possible avenue to build youth's coping repertoires. Emerging research in mindfulness with youth has revealed a range of benefits including improvements in self-regulatory abilities and effective stress responses and decreases in anxiety and externalizing behaviors. Training in mindfulness may provide adolescents with new ways to cope with stress, thereby preventing the development of future health illnesses and diseases. However, no evidence-based programs currently exist that utilize mindfulness as a tool to teach adolescents effective coping skills that may later reduce their stress, as well as physical health problems related to stress. Therefore, the aim of the proposed project is to begin to fill this gap by developing and determining the feasibility of a universal, innovative, developmentally-appropriate, evidence-based mindfulness program for use with high school students. The program will educate the students daily about the impact of stress on the mind and body, as well as new ways to cope with everyday stressors. As part of the mindfulness coping program, adolescents will participate in teacher-led activities focused on the foundations of mindfulness and these activities will be comprised of mindful breathing, mindful movements, and mindful journeys. Additionally, adolescents will learn how to apply the mindfulness skills to their everyday lives, as well as how academic and social stressors may negatively influence their bodies and mind. Students will also be able to access online resources via the program's website to continue their daily practice at home. In Phase I of the project, the program will be developed with input from mindfulness, yoga, stress and coping, adolescent health, as well as technical (e.g., e-learning) and high school teacher consultants. High school teachers and students will participate in separate focus groups to preview the lessons and provide feedback on the program. Then, a feasibility study of the revised and finalized program will be conducted in six high school classrooms (3 intervention and 3 wait-list control) to evaluate the feasibility of the procedures and program. Teachers'and students'responses to pre- and post-test questionnaires and input on the feasibility of the program will be obtained. Pending Phase I results, Phase II will involve completion of the program and website;creation of a mobile messaging system to provide mobile health messages specific to mindfulness to youth participating in the program;development and evaluation of online booster sessions (3 months follow- up to program);design and implementation of a full-scale RCT to evaluate the effectiveness of the mindfulness- based coping program.

Public Health Relevance

Mindfulness-based programs for youth have been found to be associated with reductions in stress, anxiety, and depression and increases in self-regulation and attention. The purpose of this project is to (1) develop the prototype for a mindfulness-based coping program for high school students and (2) evaluate the feasibility of the program. The proposed program will be designed as an easy-to use, attractive, research-based mindfulness program to be taught by high school teachers to their students that utilizes innovative and engaging multimedia and online resources. This project will result in the development of a commercially available, empirically-tested educational tool that can be used in high school settings.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Mann Koepke, Kathy M
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Innovation Research and Training, Inc.
United States
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