A Parent-Child Mindfulness Based Training (PC-MBT) program was developed to examine whether children who learned strategies of emotion regulation and self-compassion prior to completing a working memory training program would show greater subsequent gains in memory capacity. A secondary aim was to determine whether measures of brain structure and function would reflect training-related changes in cognition or behavior. Participants included children ages 8-10 years of age (N=21) randomly assigned to PC-MBT (n=13) or wait-list control (n=8) groups. Measures of brain (MRI) and behavior were collected at: baseline, post PC-MBT (or wait period), and post working memory training. PC-MBT participants received weekly instruction in-home (1hr) and online (15min) for 6-weeks. Preliminary findings show no significant difference in PC-MBT scores of well-being. However, weekly questionnaires provide qualitative support for study feasibility and program satisfaction. As expected, children’s working memory scores improved significantly after working memory training. Overall, preliminary analysis support program feasibility and participant satisfaction. Future analyses will address whether gains in working memory are any greater for PC-MBT children and whether any brain changes are detected following PC-MBT or memory training. This work holds promise for improving our understanding of experience-dependent learning and developmental periods that are optimal for intervention efforts.

Sarah Short, PhD

University of North Carolina

Inspired by a longstanding interest in neurodevelopmental disorders and psychiatric illness, Dr. Sarah Short’s research has consistently focused on identifying early determinants of neurodevelopmental risk. As an Assistant Professor in … MORE