Self-Compassion for Family Caregivers »
The presentation will include results from a research-based “Self-Compassion for Family Caregivers” 6-week pilot series at the University of NE-Lincoln. There are 55 million family caregivers in the United States alone, and caregiving is becoming more recognized as a public health issue due to the influx of global research on the burdens and demands associated with the role. Data from the series will be shared reflecting the consistencies of the literature on the adverse effects of caregiving upon individuals, such a poorer health outcomes, increased anxiety/stress, and decreased connection with the self. Self-compassion practices have been empirically shown to help mitigates the burdens associated with family caregiving. Data from the pilot study regarding improvements of caregiver well-being due to self-compassion practices will be shared. Results and recommendations on how the self-compassion intervention can be integrated into clinical and community settings such as nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, clinics and community networks in effort to support, maintain and increase the well-being family caregivers. The presentation will also emphasize the social implications regarding one’s access and barriers to self-compassion practices and how it affects overall well-being. The presented solution contributes to the new and innovate practices because family caregivers and providers need support in two ways: they need to be able to support themselves and their own well-being during stressful times, and they need support navigating and coping with the social structures and systems that impede their well-being due to high demands and lack of resources. Self-compassion can act as an innovative practice because it helps a person regulate their nervous system, accept what is in the moment with mindful practices, and providing clarity for one to move forward with action no matter what come their way.
Presenting author: Sarah Rasby, MA, Ph.D. student scholar and research assistant, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Co-author(s): Dr. Holly Hatten-Bowers, Ph.D.
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Identifying Adaptations for a Self-compassion Intervention for Spanish-speaking Mothers of Children with Disabilities or Health Conditions »
Objectives: Culturally relevant mindfulness- and self-compassion-based interventions for Spanish-speaking mothers of children with disabilities or health conditions are lacking despite growing evidence of their benefits for English-speaking mothers. To address this need, we offered a mindfulness- and self-compassion-based intervention to this population in Spanish. We aimed to explore how contextual factors influenced participant experiences and outcomes with the goal of informing future cultural adaptations.
Methods: Sixteen mothers participated in a 6-week intervention and completed semi-structured interviews that were professionally transcribed and translated for qualitative analysis. Using a realist evaluation framework, we examined 1) participants’ context, 2) the intervention’s mechanisms, and 3) outcomes that participants identified. We conducted a thematic analysis in which we identified themes, mapped them to this context-mechanisms-outcomes framework, and explored relationships between them. In alignment with community-based participatory research principles, peer facilitators who are mothers of children with health conditions or disabilities participated in planning, translation into Spanish, intervention delivery, analysis, and development of recommendations for future adaptations.
Results: Our thematic analysis found that four contextual elements – faith, self-concept as a woman and mother, trauma, and level of social support – influenced how participants experienced the mechanisms. Faith supported engagement, with participants describing how they integrated intervention practices with their faith-based practices. Past trauma was linked to difficulties with a few practices that involved self-kindness and self-touch. Self-concept as a woman and mother – evidenced by participants’ tendency to prioritize their family’s needs over their own self-care – was a barrier to engagement for some participants. Although participants with a low level of pre-existing social support reported making fewer comments during the intervention, they reported having positive experiences and valued listening to others. When describing their experiences, participants linked the mechanisms of (1) having positive experiences with practices and (2) engaging in self-reflection to three outcomes: emotion regulation, empowerment to practice self-care, and savoring daily life experiences. Participants frequently described the mechanism of self-reflection as a means of overcoming barriers to engagement. They connected a third mechanism – sharing life experiences and learning in community – to the outcome of common humanity.
Conclusions: Based on our findings, we propose that the impact of the intervention could be increased by inviting participants to explore how the intervention content aligns with their faith-based values and practices. Opportunities for self-reflection could increase motivation to use practices and address barriers to engagement. We also found that the realist evaluation framework proved useful when adapting a mindfulness-based intervention to a new context because it facilitated an exploration of how the context interacted with the mechanisms of the intervention and influenced attainment of outcomes that participants valued.
Presenting author: Kimberly C. Arthur, MPH, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Co-author(s): Araceli Mendez Sanchez, MPH; Angie Tamayo Montero, MA; Patricia Delgado; Ofelia Rosas Ramos; Felice Orlich, PhD; Arti D. Desai, MD, MSPH
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Operationalizing Mindful Teaching for Secondary Educators in the Be CALM Program »
Teachers’ social-emotional competence and wellbeing are theorized to promote student-teacher relationships, effective classroom management, and implementation of social-emotional learning (SEL) programs, which in turn support a healthy classroom climate, that contributes to student SEL (Jennings & Greenberg, 2009; Jones & Doolittle, 2017). In the last decade, evidence has grown that shows mindfulness promotes teacher SEL through insight and practice change as well as reducing teaching stress and increasing self-awareness, empathy, and emotion regulation (Jennings et al., 2011, 2015; Roeser et al., 2013). However, there is little empirical guidance for how specific teacher practices, or “mindful teaching” might be enacted in interactions with students to optimize youth outcomes.
The Be CALM Program utilizes a “co-regulation” framework (Murray et al., 2019) to define and teach key elements for promoting youth’s developmental skills and capabilities through interactions with caring adults, including: 1) creating safe, supportive classroom environments, 2) building strong teacher-student relationships, and 3) promoting application of social-emotional skills in day-to-day interactions. Over 100 middle and high school educators have been trained in a blended learning approach including self-study, live virtual, and in-person workshops. Foundational training teaches what mindfulness is and how it is relevant both personally and professionally through education and experiential practice. Mindful teaching is operationalized through core principles and key phrases. Strategies for student interactions are taught using active learning methods like self-reflection, role plays, and video modeling. Equity is promoted by 1) using mindfulness to promote teachers’ awareness of their cultural lenses and biases, 2) supporting student voice and choice to promote a sense of agency, and 3) building a learning environment where all students feel valued and a sense of belonging.
Two intervention development studies demonstrate the initial benefit of this approach for teachers. In a small randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted in five middle schools, trained health/PE teachers (n = 5) reported less emotional burnout (η = .27) and greater mindfulness (η = .39) than comparison teachers (n = 4) and were observed to more frequently support students’ social-emotional skills (t = -4.277, p = .00). In a pre-post pilot study with 11 ninth grade teachers in 2021-2022, an observational measure was developed to assess Mindful Teaching, Student Connections, Safe Supportive Learning Environments, and Support for Students’ Skill Application (Roudebush, under review), with 6 items demonstrating internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha – .80). Scores on this measure improved over time for teachers and were modestly associated with student engagement in the program (r(19) = .402, p = .088).
Overall, the Be CALM Program’s approach is well-grounded theoretically, measurable, and appears to have value for training secondary educators in making mindfulness actionable in interactions with students. This has been further validated by promising impact on students as well.
Presenting author: Macy Lawrence Ratliff, MS, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Co-author(s): Desiree W. Murray, PhD
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Identifying Core Program Components and Core Instructor Competencies of Mindfulness‑Based Programming for Youth »
The implementation of mindfulness-based programming/interventions (MBP) for youth, and corresponding research, has proliferated in recent years. Although preliminary evidence is promising, one pressing concern is that the heterogeneity of MBP for youth makes it difficult to infer the essential constituent program elements that may be driving specified outcomes (i.e., core program components (CPCs)). A second concern is that there are no current consensus recommendations for core competencies for youth MBP instructors, leading to highly heterogeneous training backgrounds and competency standards. This flash talk will present recent research that employed the Delphi method to survey expert MBP scientists and instructors to identify consensus of CPCs and instructor competencies of MBP for youth. Delphi Round 1 surveyed scientists (n = 19) to name and define potential CPCs and instructor competencies of MBP for youth; responses were qualitatively analyzed yielding categorical codes. Delphi Round 2 recruited MBP instructors (n = 21) identified by scientist participants and peer instructor nomination. In Rounds 2 and 3, the full participant sample (scientists and instructors) were asked to consider the preceding Round’s results and whether each of the identified codes were an essential CPC or core instructor competency of MBPs for youth. Final Round 3 results indicated consensus (≥ 75% endorsement) of 9 CPCs and 11 core instructor competencies. These findings are the first to report expert consensus of identified CPCs and core instructor competencies of MBP for youth. These findings have significant implications for future youth MBP evaluation, implementation, and curriculum development. Attendees will learn more about essential constituent components of MBP for youth, and about core competencies for an effective youth MBP instructor. Question and answer will discuss future directions for research, implementation, program development, and instructor training.
Presenting author: Joshua C. Felver, PhD ABPP, Cornell University
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Impact of Mindfulness Interventions on Human Flourishing: A Meta-analysis »
Background: Historically, researchers focused on mindfulness interventions to reduce negative situations such as depression and anxiety. Researchers had predominantly focused attention on individuals’ suffering exclusively, which is not a productive method for all individuals. Researchers have less often studied mindfulness interventions to promote the positive aspects of life that help individuals flourish.
Objective: The aim of this meta-analysis was to examine the effect of mindfulness interventions on flourishing. In addition, we examined the moderator effects of participant characteristics, methods, and interventions characteristics.
Methods: We searched CINAHL, PubMed, Scopus, Ovid PsycINFO, Ovid Medline, Web of Science, and unpublished dissertations without date restrictions to June 2022. Studies were eligible if researchers tested mindfulness interventions against comparison groups using randomized trial or quasi-experimental designs with adults ≥18 years, measured flourishing quantitatively, and reported their studies in English. We coded studies for 5 categories: source variables, methods which included quality indicators, intervention characteristics, participant characteristics, and outcomes. We used SPSS to describe the studies; we used comprehensive meta-analysis (CMA) to calculate effect size and examine moderator effects. Further, to understand if the effect of mindfulness interventions on flourishing reflected spontaneous improvement, we examined one-group pretest/posttest mean differences within the mindfulness groups and within the comparison groups. We conducted the analysis estimating no correlation (r=0.0) and reanalyzed estimating correlation (r=0.8). If comparison groups showed significant improvement in flourishing, we would suspect that the effects we see in the mindfulness groups simply reflected spontaneous improvement.
Results: Fifteen studies met inclusion criteria (S=15) providing 16 comparisons (K=16; one study provided two comparisons). Across studies (N=2,834), the effects of mindfulness interventions on flourishing among adults was 0.37 [(95% CI=0.15, 0.59) p=0.00] compared with comparison groups. Moreover, mindfulness group pre-post comparisons showed that flourishing increased by 0.32 (p<.000) when groups were uncorrelated (r=0.0) and 0.394 (p<.000) when groups were correlated (r=0.8). Control group pre-post comparisons showed non-significant change in effect size when groups were uncorrelated (0.05, p=0.495) or when correlated (0.04, p=0.419). Moderator analyses revealed that mindful yoga resulted in greater improvement in flourishing compared to mindful meditation (0.79 vs 0.16, respectively; p=0.000). None of the other moderators made a significant effect on flourishing.
Conclusion: Overall, mindfulness interventions have a small to moderate effect on flourishing among adults. Mindful yoga interventions have a greater effect on improving flourishing than mindful meditation interventions. Additionally, attrition rate and precent of females were significant moderators that negatively influenced the effect of mindfulness interventions on human flourishing among adults. Our findings suggest that mindfulness interventions might be recommended as one approach that could potentially improve flourishing among adults.
Presenting author: Samah Hawsawi, Ph.D(c), RN, Saint Louis University
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Parent and Teacher Assessment of a Mindful Eating Intervention for Preschoolers »
National nutrition data reveal that the diet quality of young American children is poor and that once unhealthy eating habits emerge, they are likely to persist over time and result in negative health outcomes. Thus, there is a critical need to cultivate healthy eating behaviors early in life when children’s eating patterns and their ability to self-regulate food intake are being developed. Nutrition research acknowledges that caregivers have the capacity to shape healthy eating among preschool age children via feeding practices that include sensory experiences, support satiety cues, and model healthy practices. Thus, there is also a need for programs that can be integrated into childcare centers that include simple practices to support children’s curiosity with food and promote healthy eating behaviors.
Our interdisciplinary research team developed a holistic mindful eating curriculum, Mindfully Growing, that includes child, parent, and teacher components. The four key program elements include: 1) preschooler mindful eating – increasing self-regulation of appetite using mindful tasting and internal cues of hunger and fullness; 2) parent/teacher mindful eating – practicing mindful eating and improving awareness of internal hunger and fullness cues; 3) family/childcare center engagement – introducing concepts of mindful eating to parents and teachers; 4) family/teacher integration – infusing and sustaining mindful eating practices within the family and childcare settings.
This spring, parents of preschool children and preschool teachers are participating in focus groups to assess the feasibility and acceptability of the parent and teacher workshops. The purpose of these components are to enhance mindfulness and mindful eating within caregivers in order to better support these practices with children in their care. We are gathering data via semi-structured interviews in order to make needed modifications prior to pilot testing the intervention in the fall. We anticipate moderating four in-person group sessions (2 groups of 8 teachers and 2 groups of 8 parents). In this flash talk, we will present data collected via focus groups with parents and teachers and share themes around engagement strategies and integrating technology in ways that best meet the needs of families and childcare centers.
Presenting author: Rachel Razza, PhD, Syracuse University
Co-author(s): Lynn Brann, PhD
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Mindfulness Facets as Pathways to Emotion Regulation for Adults in Mexico »
Objective: Mindfulness has become increasingly popular as research in this field suggests promising results in clinical and non-clinical populations, particularly in reducing stress and promoting well-being and mental health-related benefits (Goldberg et al., 2022). Grecucci et al. (2015) suggest that mindfulness has achieved these outcomes through its contribution to emotion regulation. Although the psychological benefits of mindfulness for emotion regulation are well-documented (Roemer et al., 2015), the precise mechanisms underlying these effects remain less clear. Therefore, this study completed in Mexico aimed to examine which facets of mindfulness are the best predictors of emotion regulation.
Methods: The Mexican version of the Mindfulness Inventory (Ibinarriaga Soltero et al., 2023) and the Emotion Regulation subscale of the Inventory of Socioemotional Competences for Adults (Mikulic, Crespi & Radusky, 2015) were completed in Spanish by N = 387 participants (Mage= 39.85; SD = 12.70) who registered for an online mindfulness seminar implemented at National Autonomous University of Mexico. While participants had diverse demographic characteristics, the sample was predominantly female (84.2%), psychologists (60.7%) who held a bachelor’s degree (63%) and lived in Mexico City (62.5%). A multiple linear regression analysis was performed to analyze the effect of contextual variables and the Mindfulness Inventory facets on emotion regulation.
Results show that the predictor variables together explain almost 50% of the variance of emotional regulation (adjusted R2 = .497, F = 42.26, p < 0.001). Particularly, the following Mindfulness Inventory facets were statistically significant predictors of emotional regulation: a) not judging internal experiences (β = .289, p < 0.001), b) observing the breathing (β = .092, p = .045), c) not acting on autopilot (β = .311, p < 0.001), d) paying attention to external stimuli (β = .127, p = .005), and e) not reacting to internal experiences (β = .195, p < 0.001 ). According to Cohen's rules, the effect size was small for ‘observing the breathing’ (d = .151) and ‘not judging internal experiences’ (d = .216); small to moderate for ‘paying attention to external stimuli’ (d = .270) and ‘not reacting to internal experiences’ (d = .402); and large for ‘not acting on autopilot’ (d = 1.031).
Conclusion: Findings from the current study suggest that for Mexican adults participating in a mindfulness seminar, mindfulness represents a pathway for emotional regulation, which involves awareness of inner and external experiences without judgment and reactivity.
Presenting author: Ximena Ibinarriaga Soltero, Ph.D. student, University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Feasibility, Acceptability and Preliminary Outcomes of the Self-Compassion for Children and Caregivers Program »
Caregivers of elementary-aged children are instrumental in shaping children’s understanding of and ability to regulate difficult emotions (e.g., sadness, anger, shame). Self-compassion has emerged as a useful skill in promoting adaptive responses to difficult emotions in adults and teens but has been minimally explored in child and family contexts. This study used both qualitative and quantitative data to examine the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary outcomes of a new online, synchronous program called Self-Compassion for Children and Caregivers (SCCC). This program offers six sessions of group-based co-learning for caregivers and their school-aged children. Twenty-eight caregivers (79% female, 79% White) recruited through university advertisements and a community-based organization completed close-ended surveys pre and post program and provided open-ended written feedback about their experience with the program. The program was feasible, with 93% of completers attending at least 5 of 6 classes. Content analysis of caregivers’ open-ended responses suggested high acceptability, with caregivers citing improvements in communication about and support for difficult emotions and caregiver-child bonding. However, the online learning format was not ideal for all dyads. Suggested changes may improve engagement and outcomes. Quantitative analysis confirmed qualitative findings, showing significant improvements in caregivers’ self-compassion, parenting stress, mindful parenting, and caregivers’ assessment of their children’s depression pre- versus post-program. Implications for intervention refinements and future studies are discussed.
Presenting author: Christine Lathren, MD, MSPH, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Co-author(s): Karen Bluth, PhD; Jamie Lynn Tatera
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