Lessons learned from a mindfulness-based intervention with chronically ill youth

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The purpose of this study was to take steps toward developing a mindfulness-based intervention for youth with chronic medical conditions, and, more importantly, to document lessons learned for increasing the effectiveness of similar interventions in real-world clinical settings. Thirteen children and adolescents attending a specialized school for youth with chronic illness completed the intervention. Students completed pre- and postintervention assessments of health-related quality of life, psychosocial functioning, and mindfulness. Students also provided verbal feedback regarding the intervention. The program was evaluated using the following criteria: (a) treatment acceptability, (b) recruitment and retention, (c) timing, and (d) preliminary outcomes. Data from treatment completers revealed statistically significant improvement in anxiety symptoms from pre- to postintervention; no other significant changes were found. Additionally, a number of important lessons were learned from this endeavor including the importance of the following: frequency and number of sessions, between-session practice, small group size, modular rather than cumulative/linear group format, groups based on age rather than gender, and external rewards for participation. Findings highlighted important areas for improvement and implications for implementation are discussed.

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Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology

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