The Impact of a School Mindfulness Program on Adolescent Stress, Wellbeing, and Emotion Regulation, with Attachment as a Moderator Open Access
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In this study, the author explores the impact of a school-based mindfulness program on adolescent stress, wellbeing, and emotion regulation. The research also includes an investigation of the possible moderating role of adolescent attachment style on the program's effectiveness. The study employs previously collected data from a six-week mindfulness meditation program conducted in a Northeastern suburban public high school employing the .b (dot-b) mindfulness curriculum. The data was collected before and after the program, and employed a survey composed of four existing instruments. Instruments included the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS; Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983) Experiences in Close Relationships - Revised - General Short Form (ECR-R-GSF; Wilkinson, 2011), three subscales of the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS; Gratz & Roemer, 2004), the International Positive and Negative Affect Schedule - Short Form (I-PANAS-SF; Thompson, 2007). Demographics on age, gender, race/ethnicity were also collected. A total of 1277 students participated in the program. 1007 completed both pre- and post-tests, with 584 enrolling in the treatment group and 423 in the control group. Results indicated that participation in the mindfulness program led to a statistically significant decline in perceived stress compared with control. Participation in the program did not lead to a statistically significant change in any other outcomes. Results also showed that the effect of the mindfulness program had on participant wellbeing, specifically negative affect, was moderated by anxious attachment. In contrast to predictions, participants with higher levels of attachment anxiety were found to experience greater declines in negative affect than those with low attachment anxiety, as compared with control. The author used propensity score matching to decrease the impact of selection bias. Analyses run for the matched data, which included 219 participants in each group, supported the impact of the program on perceived stress, but did not replicate the moderation effect of attachment anxiety on negative affect.