Spirituality Development for Homeless Youth: A Mindfulness Meditation Feasibility Pilot
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Few resilience enhancement interventions are available to help homeless youth at high risk for mental health problems and substance abuse. Mindfulness meditation has demonstrated effectiveness in persons who deal with some of these issues. Our purpose was to examine the feasibility of delivering a spirituality development class—a minimally modified version of Yale University’s 8-session Spiritual Self-Schema (3-S) program—to homeless youth in a shelter in an urban center in the Southeastern United States. We used a quasi-experimental, one group, pre- and post-intervention design with standardized self-report measures of impulsiveness, resilience, spirituality, mental wellness, and psychological symptoms. Seventy-one youth enrolled in the study; 39 of the youth attended at least four sessions of the class and completed the posttest. The spirituality development class was well received by the youth and, overall, participants demonstrated improvement on measures of spirituality, mental wellness, psychological symptoms, and resilience on the posttest. There were no statistically meaningful changes in impulsiveness scores. We concluded that mindfulness meditation programs are feasible for this population. Future studies of high-risk youth should use a randomized controlled trial design to examine the long-term impact of such training on psychological status and behavioral outcomes such as educational path, work attainment, and drug and alcohol abuse.
KeywordsAdolescents Meditation Psychological resilience Homeless youth Spirituality
This research was funded by the Office of University-Community Partnerships of Emory University. The authors would like to acknowledge the support of Ms. Connie Buchanan and Drs. Arthur Margolin, Terence Chorba, Bonnie Jennings, and Nancy J. Thompson. The 3-S training program may be accessed at www.3-s.us and the YESSS version at http://www.nursing.emory.edu/directory/profile.cfm?PEOPLE_NUMBER=621.
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