A Mindfulness-Based Program among Adolescent Boys with Behavior Disorders: A Quasi-Experimental Study

Abstract

Several studies have shown that mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) may bring promising benefits for youth. However, little is known about its efficacy in specific clinical populations and even less about the psychological processes that underlie the changes. This study investigates the efficacy of a MBP among a population of adolescent boys with behavior disorders and explores the mediating role of impulsivity in the observed changes. Participants included 48 adolescents presenting conduct disorders and mild cognitive impairments, living in a residential service for youth in Belgium. Two groups of 24 adolescents aged 12 to 19 years have been constituted. Only the experimental group followed a MBP. The program was divided into two parts: the first 6 sessions were devoted to group dynamic and introduction to emotional skills whereas the second part focused on mindfulness exercises. The level of depression and impulsivity as well as the symptomatology of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder were assessed before, during and after the program for both groups. Results showed that both groups decreased their depressive symptomatology but only the MBP group decreased in impulsivity and externalizing symptomatology. No mediating effects of the facets of impulsivity on the outcomes were found. MBPs may bring psychological benefits for adolescents who suffer from behavior disorders but further research on the efficacy of MBPs among this population is needed.

Highlights

  • Mindfulness-based interventions are well-accepted among adolescents with behavior disorders.

  • Mindfulness-based interventions may be useful to treat externalizing symptomatology in behavior disorders.

  • The effects of mindfulness training on externalizing symptomatology may be mediated by changes in impulsivity.

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Acknowledgements

Data collection has been made possible by the help of the residential service for youth Reumonjoie and with the help of Francine Gitton, Isabelle Melin, Carine Lefèvre, Annick Marchale, Carine Hamende and all the educators of this institution. We would particularly like to thank the Huoshen foundation for its financial support that has enabled many underserved youths to have access to mindfulness programs.

Author Contributions

B.R.: designed and executed the study, analyzed the data, and wrote the paper. P.P.: collaborated with the design, data analyses and writing of the study.

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Correspondence to Benjamin Roux.

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Roux, B., Philippot, P. A Mindfulness-Based Program among Adolescent Boys with Behavior Disorders: A Quasi-Experimental Study. J Child Fam Stud 29, 2186–2200 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-020-01751-z

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Keywords

  • Mindfulness
  • Adolescents
  • Behavior disorders
  • ADHD
  • Quasi-experimental study