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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and helpfulness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Children (MBCT-C) for the treatment of internalizing and externalizing symptoms in a sample of nonreferred children. Twenty-five children, ages 9 to 12, participated in the 12-week intervention. Assessments were conducted at baseline and posttreatment. Open trial analyses found preliminary support for MBCT-C as helpful in reducing internalizing and externalizing symptoms within subjects on the parent report measure. The high attendance rate (Intent-to-Treat sample, 78%; Completer sample, 94%), high retention rate (68%), and positive ratings on program evaluations supported treatment feasibility and acceptability. Overall, this pilot study offers feasibility and acceptability data for MBCT-C as a potential treatment for internalizing and externalizing symptoms in children. Further research is needed to test the efficacy of the intervention with a larger sample of children who meet diagnostic criteria for clinical disorders.
This study is an open clinical trial that examined the feasibility and acceptability of a mindfulness training program for anxious children. We based this pilot initiative on a cognitively oriented model, which suggests that, since impaired attention is a core symptom of anxiety, enhancing self-management of attention should effect reductions in anxiety. Mindfulness practices are essentially attention enhancing techniques that have shown promise as clinical treatments for adult anxiety and depression (Baer, 2003). However, little research explores the potential benefits of mindfulness to treat anxious children. The present study provided preliminary support for our model of treating childhood anxiety with mindfulness. A 6-week trial was conducted with five anxious children aged 7 to 8 years old. The results of this study suggest that mindfulness can be taught to children and holds promise as an intervention for anxiety symptoms. Results suggest that clinical improvements may be related to initial levels of attention.