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Background: Mindfulness interventions with adolescents are in the early stages of development. This study sought to establish efficacy of a mindfulness-based group intervention for adolescents with mixed mental health disorders. Method: One hundred and eight adolescents (ages 13–18) were recruited from community mental health clinics and randomised into two groups (control vs. treatment). All participants received treatment-as-usual (TAU) from clinic-based therapists independent of the study. Adolescents in the treatment condition received TAU plus a 5-week mindfulness-training programme (TAU+Mi); adolescents in the control group received only TAU. Assessments including parent/carer reports were conducted at baseline, postintervention and 3-month follow-up. Results: At postintervention, adolescents in the mindfulness condition experienced significant decrease in mental distress (measured with the DASS-21) compared to the control group (Cohen's d = 0.43), and these gains were enhanced at 3-month follow-up (Cohen's d = 0.78). Overall outcomes at 3 months showed significant improvement for adolescents in the mindfulness condition; in self-esteem, mindfulness, psychological inflexibility and mental health, but not resilience. Parents/carers also reported significant improvement in their adolescent's psychological functioning (using the CBCL). Mediation analyses concluded mindfulness mediated mental health outcomes. Conclusions: Increase in mindful awareness after training leads to improvement in mental health and this is consistent with mindfulness theory. The mindfulness group programme appears to be a promising adjunctive therapeutic approach for clinic-based adolescents with mental health problems.


School of Psychology

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Journal Article

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