Do we have the recipe right yet? A randomized controlled evaluation of a secondary school mindfulness program for early adolescents
Johnson et al aimed to provide a rigorous evaluation of the mindfulness curriculum called .b (“Dot Be”) in early adolescence. A randomized controlled design was used with 555 students assigned to one of three conditions:
The measures included anxiety, depression, weight/shape concerns, well-being and a multi-dimensional mindfulness measure consisting of 8 factors. The students’ average age was 13.44 years. Results were measured post-intervention at 6 and 12 month follow up. No interactions were found between the 3 groups. Only one main effect occurred – students in the two mindfulness conditions had lower scores on one measured mindfulness factor: Acting with Awareness. The researchers explored what might have led to the null findings, such as low distress scores prior to the curriculum introduction. Particular study limitations included low parental involvement in the 3rd condition and limited compliance with home practice in both tested curriculum conditions. While the results from this rigorous study suggest a lack of efficacy for use of .b with this age group, it warrants further replication with a US sample and with students at a later stage of adolescence.