Thamboo, P. A. (2016). The Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Feelings of Loneliness and Ruminative Thinking. MA thesis, The College at Brockport: State University of New York. Full text.
From the Abstract: Loneliness is a very distressing experience provoked by perceived deficiencies in interpersonal social contact. In recent years, considerable attention has been oriented towards the transformative changes associated with the practice of mindfulness. Thus, many mindfulness based interventions have emerged and demonstrated efficacy for ameliorating various forms of psychological distress. However, few studies have examined whether the therapeutic benefits are applicable for alleviating loneliness.
Prior research has suggested that the mechanisms of change underlying mindfulness may occur via reductions in rumination, which has been implicated in prolonged feelings of loneliness. The present study concerns the effects of a randomized controlled trial … a mindfulness-based group intervention on self-reported changes in mindfulness, rumination, and loneliness.
Participants (N=82) were randomly assigned to either a treatment or wait-list control group, all of which were assessed at two time periods, pre-intervention and post-intervention. The results revealed that participants in the treatment groups reported significant increases in mindfulness in addition to reductions in rumination and loneliness from pre- to post-intervention in comparison to those in the wait-list control groups. The effect of the intervention on loneliness remained significant even after statistically controlling for self-reported depressive symptoms.
Crain, T. L., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Roeser, R. W. (2016). Cultivating Teacher Mindfulness: Effects of a Randomized Controlled Trial on Work, Home, and Sleep Outcomes. Full text
ahead of inclusion in an issue.
From the abstract: The effects of randomization to a workplace mindfulness training (WMT) or a waitlist control condition on teachers’ well-being (moods and satisfaction at work and home), quantity of sleep, quality of sleep, and sleepiness during the day were examined in 2 randomized, waitlist controlled trials (RCTs).
The combined sample of the 2 RCTs, conducted in Canada and the United States, included 113 elementary and secondary school teachers (89% female). Measures were collected at baseline, postprogram, and 3-month follow-up; teachers were randomly assigned to condition after baseline assessment.
Results showed that teachers randomized to WMT reported less frequent bad moods at work and home, greater satisfaction at work and home, more sleep on weekday nights, better quality sleep, and decreased insomnia symptoms and daytime sleepiness.
Volanen, S. M., Hankonen, N., Knittle, K., Beattie, M., Salo, G., & Suominen, S. (2015). Building resilience among adolescents: First Results of a school-based mindfulness intervention. The European Journal of Public Health, 25(suppl 3), ckv168-056.
Excerpts. In Finland, 15–25% of adolescents suffer from mental health problems, and there is increasing concern over stress-related mental health problems. There is initial evidence that mindfulness (MF) interventions might hold some promise. For MF interventions to have the intended effects, it is critical that participants continue practice of MF after the program.
Results: 49% of students reported having practiced MF at home after six months. Overall, descriptive norms (i.e. beliefs about what their peers were doing) were the greatest predictor of MF practice. Students who continued practice of MF at home six months after the intervention reported the following benefits: better concentration in class (79%); better concentration on hobbies (76%); managing stress better (69%); coping better with difficult emotions (77%); sleeping better (79%); getting better grades in exams (75%); getting along better with friends (85%); and getting along better with family members (84%).
O’Donnell, A. (2015). Contemplative Pedagogy and Mindfulness: Developing Creative Attention in an Age of Distraction. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 49(2), 187-202. Abstract.
Over the last decade, there has been a considerable expansion of mindfulness programmes into a number of different domains of contemporary life, such as corporations, schools, hospitals and even the military. Understanding the reasons for this phenomenon involves, I argue, reflecting upon the nature of contemporary capitalism and mapping the complexity of navigating new digital technologies that make multiple and accelerated solicitations upon attention and our affective lives.
Whilst acknowledging the benefits of mindfulness practice, this article argues that it is equally important to attend to the ethical framework that gives orientation to these practices and the outer conditions that shape lived daily experience, such as school or work environments. I suggest that the well-meaning efforts to secularise mindfulness, provide scientific evidence for its effectiveness, and introduce it to wider publics may have served to impoverish the rich contribution that practices of mindfulness, situated within a broader ethical framework, can make to human lives, and arguably contribute to the educational endeavour. For example, the emphasis on transforming inner conditions of students’ lives can lead to the neglect of outer conditions, such as structural inequality, or unhealthy and exploitative work practices. This can result in practices that privilege individual wellbeing over compassion and concern for the happiness of others, providing a buffer against loving attention to the world and others.
Instead, I ask how mindfulness in educational settings could come to be viewed in a different light if we reflect upon the ways in which school environments and curricula can promote mindfulness, awareness, sensitive inquiry, and contemplative practices through the day, rather than offering it as a discrete intervention focused on the self and wellbeing.