Beliefs about emotions and mindfulness: impact on the relationship between stressors and somatic symptoms in a school population
MetadataShow full item record
Background: Mindfulness based interventions are becoming increasingly popular for use with children and adolescents, particularly within the school context. Objectives: The aim of the systematic review was to examine the effectiveness of school-based mindfulness interventions with particular reference to mental health and wellbeing. The main study aimed to determine if beliefs about emotions and mindfulness moderated the relationship between stressors and somatic symptoms in an adolescent population. Method: The literature was systematically searched for mindfulness interventions carried out with children and adolescents within the school context. A cross-sectional survey was carried out in a rural sample of 489 high school students to examine specific a priori anticipated relationships amongst beliefs about emotions, mindfulness, stressors, and somatic symptoms. Results: Six studies met the criteria for inclusion. The study demonstrated that school-based mindfulness interventions produce some evidence of effective outcomes for mental health and wellbeing in children and adolescents. Factors associated with improvements included that the intervention was delivered by an experienced mindfulness trainer, and that home practice formed part of the intervention. Somatic symptoms were significantly correlated with beliefs about emotions and were significantly inversely correlated with dispositional mindfulness. Lower levels of mindfulness were associated with stronger beliefs about the unacceptability of expressing or experiencing negative emotions. Beliefs about emotions and mindfulness did not significantly moderate the relationship between somatic symptoms and stressors within an adolescent population. Conclusion: Further research is necessary to determine if mindfulness as a construct or an intervention is effective in enhancing adolescents’ resilience to stressors by improving mental health and wellbeing.