Mindfulness Intervention in At-Risk Adolescents: Participant Voices

Sunday, 30 July 2017: 9:10 AM

Kristen E. Rawlett, PhD, MSN, BS
School of Nursing, Dept of Family & Community Health, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, USA


At-risk behaviors are related to poor outcomes among adolescents. Adolescence as a vital time for stress reduction to

reduce risk and improve mental health. The purpose of this abstact is to describe qualitative interviews of participants regarding their experiences with

mindfulness(MC) as compared to attention only(AC) interventions using the participant's voice. Clinical decision making strategies will be presented.


Twenty-three students participated. Open-ended questions were asked before and after completion of 6 week

interventions. Interview questions included:What two words or phrases best describe you?What distracts you?How do

you manage your stress? Responses were independently coded.


MC students were happy, mad and angry. Post-test they were positive being happy, excited, and relaxed.T he AC

group had mixed emotions, negative emotions such as mad, irked and annoyed remained unchanged. Both indicated

auditory interruptions affecting concentration. Distractions were unchanged:people laughing, noises and talking. The

MC group used techniques taught in the mindfulness intervention. In post-test, the MC group dealt with stress by

listening (to music), body scans, breathing and meditating. The AC group did not demonstrate a change. They

managed stress by ‘screaming, yelling, hitting and taking it out on 'stuff’.

In program evaluation, MC participants referred to specific techniques breathing, paying attention, using silence and

listening to music to achieve calm. AC participants focused on the impact. The AC intervention included talking, being

able to express true self and getting stress out. A useful aspect of the interventions was learning how to control stress

and the support they received from the instructors. Students mentioned wanting to get outside, not having enough

space. Students had an acute awareness of others in the group.


Clinically significant is that girls in the MC were able to learn, use and identify specific strategies such as breathing,

listening and meditating to reduce stress. Common barriers to stress reduction were auditory distractions and lack of

space. Providers can implement knowledge into clinical decision making by providing an opportunity in the inpatient

and primary care setting for adolescents to have quiet time and listen to music.