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Mindfulness Practice Cuts Stress in Low-Income School Children

Improved psychological functioning, moderation of negative effect of stress for middle school students

FRIDAY, Dec. 18, 2015 (HealthDay News) — For low-income students at public schools, a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program can improve psychological functioning and moderate the negative effects of stress, according to a study published online Dec. 18 in Pediatrics.

Erica M.S. Sibinga, M.D., from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues evaluated an adapted MBSR program to ameliorate the negative effects of stress and trauma among low-income, minority, middle school students at two public schools. Three hundred fifth- to eighth-grade students (99.7 percent African-American; 99 percent eligible for free lunch) were randomized to receive adapted MBSR or health education (Health Topics [HT]).

The researchers found that, compared with students in the HT program, students in the MBSR program had significantly lower levels of somatization, depression, negative affect, negative coping, rumination, self-hostility, and posttraumatic symptom severity (all P < 0.05).

“Additional research is needed to explore psychological, social, and behavioral outcomes, and mechanisms of mindfulness instruction,” the authors write.

The study was funded by Elev8 Baltimore.

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