Promising intervention with incarcerated youth

prison-cellBarnert, E. S., et al. (2013). Innovations in Practice: exploring an intensive meditation intervention for incarcerated youth. [Abstract]. Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Online Version of Record published before inclusion in an issue. 

Background. We examined the experiences of incarcerated adolescent males (N = 29) who participated in a one-day meditation retreat and 10-week meditation programme.

Method. Self-report surveys assessing mindfulness, self-regulation, impulsivity and stress; behavioural assessments; and focus group data were examined.

Results. We observed significantly higher scores in self-regulation (= .012) and psychometric markers demonstrated psychological enhancement. No behavioural change was observed. Six themes emerged: enhanced well-being, increased self-discipline, increased social cohesiveness, expanded self-awareness, resistance to meditation and future meditation practice.

Conclusions. Early evidence suggests that meditation training for incarcerated youth is a feasible and promising intervention.


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