Mindfulness meditation (MM) is the process of purposefully regulating attention, bringing awareness to one’s current experience, and relating to that experience in an open and accepting way (Semple, Lee, Rosa, & Miller, 2009). Previous studies have demonstrated benefits of MM training across many domains (cognitive, physiological, socio-emotional) that support children’s academic achievement; but these effects have not been comprehensively examined in early adolescence (Rempel, 2012). For the past few years, we have partnered with a MM non-profit organization that provides MM training during after-school programs in the Los Angeles area. We propose to follow 64 students over time to comprehensively assess the changes in cognitive, physiological, socio-emotional, and academic functioning that result from MM. In the fall, half the students will receive MM training (intervention group), and half will participate in a matched curriculum that omits MM (waitlist-control group). In the spring, all students will be invited to participate in the MM curriculum. A primary innovation of this study is our biopsychosocial approach to integrating improvements across domains and relating this to academic success. Findings will provide empirical support for a cost-effective MM training that could be easily offered to adolescents to promote academic and social success.

Emily Shih

University of California – Riverside