A randomized controlled evaluation of a secondary school mindfulness program for early adolescents: Do we have the recipe right yet?
Objective: Mindfulness is being promoted in schools as a prevention program despite a current small evidence base. The aim of this research was to conduct a rigorous evaluation of the .b (“Dot be”) mindfulness curriculum, with or without parental involvement, compared to a control condition. Method: In a randomized controlled design, students (Mage 13.44, SD 0.33; 45.4% female) across a broad range of socioeconomic indicators received the nine lesson curriculum delivered by an external facilitator with (N = 191) or without (N = 186) parental involvement, or were allocated to a usual curriculum control group (N = 178). Self-report outcome measures were anxiety, depression, weight/shape concerns, wellbeing and mindfulness. Results: There were no differences in outcomes between any of the three groups at post-intervention, six or twelve month follow-up. Between-group effect sizes (Cohen's d) across the variables ranged from 0.002 to 0.37. A wide range of moderators were examined but none impacted outcome. Conclusions: Further research is required to identify the optimal age, content and length of mindfulness programs for adolescents in universal prevention settings. Trial registration: ACTRN12615001052527.