(ABC News) – Middle school students are not exactly known for their ability to sit still and be quiet.
But a new study shows that students from disadvantaged neighborhoods who learn mindfulness and meditation habits in school may have a better chance at reducing the negative effects of stress and trauma in their lives.
Researchers from Hopkins studied 300 middle school students from two Baltimore schools – splitting them into two groups.
One group participated in a 12-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program. The other group participating in a program of similar structure where they learned about health topics but without the mindfulness component.
At the beginning of the study, the students reported comparable levels of things like depression and self-hostility. But after 12 weeks, the students who learned mindfulness had significantly lower levels of these symptoms and many others such as negative affect, negative coping and posttraumatic symptom severity.
The study was done in a limited sample. But it’s still potentially good news. School-based mindfulness instruction could be a meaningful tool for kids with many negative stressors in their lives. And less stress in childhood usually means a healthier life later.