The Regulating Effects of Mindfulness: A Developmental Perspective

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Workman, Lana
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Mindfulness research has traditionally centered on adult populations. The current review sought to examine the role that mindfulness plays in youth, with a specific focus on the regulating aspects of mindfulness interventions. The scope of developmental periods included in this review were infancy, early childhood (1-5 years old), late childhood (6-12 years old) and adolescence (12-18 years old). It was found that mindfulness interventions demonstrated regulating effects for all the developmental groups. Mindful parenting in the prenatal and postnatal stages led to positive self-regulatory outcomes for infants. For school-age children, mindfulness interventions, conducted both within and outside the classroom, can set children up for school success. During adolescence, mindfulness interventions can act as a buffer against psychological distress, through emotional regulation. Overall, at-risk children (e.g., vulnerable youth due to impaired social status and environmental factors) demonstrated the most self-regulatory gains through mindfulness interventions. The implications of this review are far-reaching and include the importance of using mindfulness in early intervention, the expansion of mindfulness education for counsellors, the incorporation of spiritually based interventions in psychotherapy, and the use of the educational system to promote self-regulation.
mindfulness, self-regulation, youth, psychotherapy, intervention