Chapter 4

An Exploration of the Effects of Mindfulness Training and Practice in Association with Enhanced Wellbeing for Children and Adolescents

Theory, Research, and Practice

Christine Burke

Bangor University, U.K.

Introduction

The interest in mindfulness-based approaches with children and adolescents has burgeoned in very recent years, stimulated by several decades of growth in the empirical evidence from the adult mindfulness research field, and an increasingly broadened acceptance into wider populations. The empirical evidence base with younger populations is currently in an early developmental stage, yet the evidence suggests these approaches are feasible and acceptable with younger populations (Burke, 2010; Meiklejohn et al., 2012). Mirroring the adult field, the majority of youth mindfulness research stems from a clinical orientation, studying intervention effects on psychological and other clinical symptoms. However, as we witness the emergence of more universal applications, particularly in schools, it is timely to consider whether mindfulness training and practice may be of benefit to a broader range of children and adolescents, and if and how mindfulness may be associated in enhancing positive wellbeing outcomes.

Capturing mindfulness in a single definition is somewhat paradoxical, as mindfulness is fundamentally experiential, it is both a process and an outcome, it is an inherent human capacity and a practice for cultivating this capacity, and, essentially, mindfulness ...

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