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The Role of Meditation on Mindful Awareness and Life Satisfaction of Adolescents

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The Role of Meditation on Mindful Awareness and Life Satisfaction of Adolescents

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The first objective of the study was to investigate the role of meditation on mindful awareness and life satisfaction among adolescents. The second objective was to explore the relationship of mindful awareness and life satisfaction of adolescents. Accordingly hypotheses were formulated. Purposive sampling technique was used for the selection of the 100 adolescents (males and females) with their age range between 17 to 24 years. Mindful attention awareness scale and Satisfaction with life scale were used to collect the data. The obtained data were analyzed and it was found that meditation had no significant difference on mindful attention awareness of adolescents but had significant difference on the life satisfaction of adolescents. It was also found that there was no significant correlation between mindful attention awareness and life satisfaction of the adolescents. The findings of the present study would add insights in the existing literature as well as useful for adolescents.
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The Role of Meditation on Mindful Awareness and Life
Satisfaction of Adolescents
Anulipi Agarwal and Vidushi Dixit
ABSTRACT
The first objective of the study was to investigate the role of meditation on mindful
awareness and life satisfaction among adolescents. The second objective was to
explore the relationship of mindful awareness and life satisfaction of adolescents.
Accordingly hypotheses were formulated. Purposive sampling technique was used
for the selection of the 100 adolescents (males and females) with their age range
between 17 to 24 years. Mindful attention awareness scale and Satisfaction with life
scale were used to collect the data. The obtained data were analyzed and it was
found that meditation had no significant difference on mindful attention awareness
of adolescents but had significant difference on the life satisfaction of adolescents.
It was also found that there was no significant correlation between mindful attention
awareness and life satisfaction of the adolescents. The findings of the present study
would add insights in the existing literature as well as useful for adolescents.
Key words: Adolescents, Mindfulness, Meditation, Life satisfaction.
INTRODUCTION
Adolescence
Adolescence is a Latin word adolescere, meaning “to grow up”. It is a transitional
period in human development. Adolescence is a period of heightened stress (Spear,
2000) due to various kinds of changes experienced, including physical maturation, drive
for independence, increased salience of social and peer interactions, and brain
development (Blakemore, 2008; Casey, Getz, & Galvan, 2008a; Casey, Jones, & Hare,
2008b). The phase of adolescence comprises of physical maturation of the brain and
body, giving rise to intense physical and psychological changes. One primary class of
Journal of Psychosocial Research
Vol. 12, No. 1, 2017, 59-70
Corresponding author. Email : agrawalanulipi92@gmail.com, dixit.vidu@gmail.com
ISSN 0973-5410 print/ISSN 0976-3937 online
©2017 Prints Publications Pvt. Ltd.
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Anulipi Agarwal and Vidushi Dixit
J. Psychosoc. Res.
60
psychological change typical of adolescents is an intensification of emotional experiences
(Casey, Jones, Levita, Pattwell, Ruberry, Soliman & Somerville). The thoughts, ideas
and concepts developed at this period of life greatly influence one’s future life and
playing a major role in character and personality formation.
Kennelly (2011) studied sixty eight adolescent students aged between 14 and 16
years from typical, mixed gender secondary schools who followed the full eight week
course. There were significant differences between participant and group’s mindfulness,
resilience and well being, with long term effects being even greater than immediate
effects. Students, teachers and parents also reported subjective improvements in
student’s motivation, confidence, competence and effectiveness. Similarly, numerous
evidences conclude that the majority of physiological and psychological problems being
faced by adolescents were due to lack of mindful awareness which further led to
dissatisfaction in their lives. Therefore, it was decided to explore mindfulness,
meditation and life satisfaction of adolescents in the present study.
Mindfulness
Mindfulness has been explained as a practice that helps individuals incoping with the
difficult thoughts and feelings that cause stress and anxiety in everyday life. Mindful
awareness has been designed to cultivate heightened awareness and appreciation of
simple daily tasks. Specifically, mindfulness is a moment-by-moment awareness and
also a process of attentively observing experiences. Mindfulness allows a person to
become keen observer of one’s own self and gradually transforms the way the mind
operates. With sustained practice, mindfulness can make an individual more attentive
to experience and less captive to the urge that drives the mind around. Relating
compassionately to life in this way and learning to direct and re-direct attention towards
the present moment allows for greater access to one’s own powerful resources for
intuition, insight, creativity and healing.
With practice of mindfulness individual can shift our relationship to ourselves
and our life experiences in a way that allows for greater spaciousness, acceptance and
compassion and in doing so can dramatically improve the quality of our life.
Meditation
Meditation is a practice which unites with the Universal Energy. With pure wish
individual experiences the awakening of kundalini energy (the part of divine that is
within each individual), which connects the awakened Divine Energy with supreme
energy.
The Role of Meditation on Mindful Awareness and Life Satisfaction of Adolescents 61
J. Psychosoc. Res.
In simple terms meditation means to forget about the physical existence completely
and become one with the Universal Consciousness. In such time, individual experiences
pure joy as universal energy which begins flowing within them. Just as words are
insufficient to describe the scents of flowers in the same way the experience of this
eternal joy cannot be expressed through words.
Researches show that meditation can have both physiological and psychological
effects. Some of the physiological effects include a lowered state of physical arousal,
reduced respiration rate, decreased heart rate, changes in brain wave patterns, and
lowered stress.Researchers have also demonstrated that meditation can have a wide
range of benefits. Lower stress, improved concentration, better sleep, increased working
memory, and changes in attention have all been linked to the practice of meditation.
Several studies on meditators have determine that meditators score significantly higher
on tests of attention than non- meditators (Rani & Rao, 1996; Rani & Rao, 2000; Redfering
& Bowman, 1981).
Life Satisfaction
Life Satisfaction is the central aspect of human welfare. It is the ultimate goal and
human beings strive to achieve this goal throughout the life. Life satisfaction is the
way in which people evaluate their lives and how they feel about what they will do in
the future. It is one of three major indicators of well-being namely life satisfaction,
positive effect, and negative effect (Diener,1984). In Indian Philosophy, satisfaction
includes the capacity for enjoyment i.e. the more enjoyment leads to more happiness.
A satisfied and meaningful life involves both subjective thinking and objective
component. Studies also revealed that mindfulness also contributes to the subjective
well-being of individual. According to Beutell, the Vipassana mediator’s performance
also seems to increase satisfaction, quality of life, self-esteem, self-concept and help
the subjects to develop greater tolerance of common stressors in life. Some researchers
have reported that high satisfaction functions as a buffer against the impact of stressful
life events on psychopathology (Suldo & Huebner, 2004). Similarly, another study shows
that life satisfaction improved students’ mental health. Considering the fact that the
life dissatisfaction of students gave rise to emotional and psychological problems, life
satisfaction improved mental health.
The above mentioned studies and literature provides important insights regarding
the difficulties faced by adolescents due to lack of mindful awareness and life
satisfaction. The existing literature also revealed that numerous intervention studies
have been conducted to evaluate the effect of practicing meditation but studies related
to mindfulness and life satisfaction in Indian context were missing. This leads to the
literature gap and therefore the present study was planned.
Anulipi Agarwal and Vidushi Dixit
J. Psychosoc. Res.
62
OBJECTIVES
On the basis of the existing literature following objectives were formulated:
I. To investigate the role of meditation on mindful awareness and life satisfaction
of Indian Adolescents.
II. To explore the relationship of mindful awareness and life satisfaction among Indian
Adolescents.
HYPOTHESES
On the basis of the review of literature and above objectives following hypotheses
were formulated:
1. There will be a significant difference of meditation on mindful awareness of Indian
Adolescents.
2. There will be a significant difference of meditation on life satisfaction of Indian
Adolescents.
3. There will be a correlation between mindful awareness and life satisfaction of
Indian Adolescents.
METHOD
Participants
The sample size in the study was of 100 adolescents with their age ranging from 17 to
24 years. The subjects were selected by using purposive sampling technique from two
groups, one from those who regularly practiced meditation and the other from those
who did not practiced meditation at all.
Research Design
The present study was planned to be an exploratory quantitative research in which the
data were collected using questionnaires. On the basis of the literature review, the
major variables of the study was decided to be meditation as independent variable
whereas mindful attention awareness and Life satisfaction as dependent variables.
Further, as the sample of adolescents were divided on the basis of meditation, therefore,
there were two groups, one who practiced meditation and the other, who did not
practice meditation. On this ground between-group design was used as the research
design of the present study.
The Role of Meditation on Mindful Awareness and Life Satisfaction of Adolescents 63
J. Psychosoc. Res.
Tools
For the assessment of mindful attention awareness and life satisfaction of adolescents,
Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale and Satisfaction with life scale was used
respectively. The details of both the tools have been described below:
1. Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) - The MAAS was a 15 scale item
scale assesses core characteristics of mindfulness, namely open or receptive
awareness of and attention to what is taking place in the present. The scale has
strong psychometric properties validated with college, community, and cancer
patient samples. For scoring the scale, mean of the 15 items was computed. Higher
scores reflected higher levels of dispositional mindfulness (Brown & Ryan, 2003).
The MAAS had good internal consistency (α ≥ .82) and 4-week test–retest reliability
(interclass r = .81), MAAS scores have been found to be significantly correlated
with other psychometrically sound measures of mindfulness (r with Freiburg
Mindfulness Inventory = .31, p < .01; r with Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness
Skills = .51, p < .01; r with Cognitive Affective Mindfulness Scale = .51, p < .01; r
with Mindfulness Questionnaire = .38; p < .01; Baer, Smith, Hopkins, Krietemeyer,
& Toney, 2006).
2. Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWSL) - The SWLS was a short 5-item instrument was
given by Ed Denier in 1985 (Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S.
(1985). It measures global cognitive judgments of satisfaction with one’s life. The
scale Participants indicated how much they agreed or disagreed with each of the
5 items using a 7-point scale that range from 7 strongly agree to 1 strongly
disagrees.. The Internal consistency of the SWLS was found to
be excellent (Cronbach’s a=0.83-0.92) whereas the test-retest reliability for the
total SWLS was adequate (r=0.65) (Dijkers 1999, Post et al. 2012, Geyh et al. 2010,
Hitzig et al. 2012, Krause et al. 2009). On the other hand for validity, correlation
of the SWLS were also excellent with the Assistive Technology Device
Predisposition Assessment (Spearman’s r=0.89); Brief Symptom Inventory
(Spearman’s r=-0.64); Life Satisfaction Questionnaire (LISAT-9-11) (Spearman’s
r=0.60) (Dijkers 1999, Scherer & Cushman 2001, Post et al. 2012, Richardson &
Richardson 2008, Hitzig et al. 2012, Krause et al. 2009).
PROCEDURE
Using the above mentioned measures, the study was conducted in two phases-
I Phase: Pilot study - This pilot study phase was a small scale preliminary study,
which was conducted in order to evaluate feasibility, time, cost, adverse events,
and effect size (statistical variability to predict the appropriate sample size) and
improve upon the study design prior to performance of the main study.
Anulipi Agarwal and Vidushi Dixit
J. Psychosoc. Res.
64
II Phase: Main study - After successful completion of the pilot study the main
study was carried on. In this the actual data on the entire sample was collected
and scored accordingly.
RESULTS
After scoring the data, it was analyzed with the help of statistical package for social
sciences (SPSS). The data was analyzed using descriptive analysis as well as inferential
analysis. The descriptive analysis included calculation of Mean, SD whereas inferential
statistics included F-test as well as correlation analysis. After these analyses the results
have been tabulated, interpreted and the findings have been concluded.
Table 1
Mean and SD Scores on Mindful Attention Awareness and
Satisfaction with Life among Adolescents
Adolescents
Meditation Non-Meditation
Variables N=50 N=50
M(SD) M(SD)
Mindful Attention Awareness 57.74 (15.84) 60.32 (14.65)
Satisfaction with Life 29.64 (3.52) 25.12 (4.78)
Table 2
Summary of ANOVA on Mindful Attention Awareness by
Meditation among Adolescents
Sum of Square Df Mean Square F
Between group 166.41 1 166.410 .714
Within Groups 22838.50 98 233.046
Total 23004.91 99
**p<0.01
The Role of Meditation on Mindful Awareness and Life Satisfaction of Adolescents 65
J. Psychosoc. Res.
DISCUSSION
The present study was planned to study the role of meditation on mindful awareness
and life satisfaction of Indian Adolescents and to explore the relationship of meditation,
mindful awareness and life satisfaction of Indian Adolescents. On the basis of these
objectives three hypotheses were formulated. The sample of adolescents was divided
on the basis of meditators and non-meditators. The data was collected from this
sample, using mindful attention awareness scale as well as satisfaction with life scale.
The study was conducted in two phases, the pilot study phase was a small scale
preliminary study, in which data was collected from 10 random samples in order to
evaluate the result. After successful completion of the pilot study, main study was
conducted. In this the actual data on the entire sample was collected and then scored
accordingly.
On the basis of literature first hypothesis was formulated that there will be a
significant difference of meditation on mindful awareness of Indian adolescents. This
hypothesis was tested and it was found that there was no significant difference between
meditation and mindful attention awareness. In other words, adolescents practicing
meditation and those not practicing they had approximately similar level of mindful
attention awareness.
Table 3
Summary of ANOVA on Satisfaction with Life by
Meditation among Adolescents
Sum of Square Df Mean Square F
Between group 510.76 1 510.76 28.88**
Within Groups 1732.80 98 17.682
Total 2243.56 99
**p<0.01
Table 4
Pearson Correlation between Mindful Attention Awareness and Satisfaction with
Life among Adolescents
Variable Mindful Attention Satisfaction
Awareness with Life
Mindful Attention Awareness 1 .015
**p<0.01
Anulipi Agarwal and Vidushi Dixit
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66
But the findings in the existing literature conclude with the contradictory
findings. In one of the study researchers examined how mindfulness meditation
affected participants’ ability to focus attention and suppress distracting information.
It was found that the meditation group had significantly better performance on all
measures of attention and had higher self-reported mindfulness. Mindfulness
meditation practice and self-reported mindfulness were correlated directly with
cognitive flexibility and attention functioning (Moore and Malinowski, 2009). Another
study has also found the effect of meditation at improving attention regulation, or
concentration. Several studies on meditators have determined significantly higher
scores on tests of attention than non-meditators (Rani & Rao, 1996; Rani & Rao, 2000;
Redfering & Bowman, 1981). In another study it was found that transcendental
meditation improved the attention regulation capacity of its practitioners. Their study
revealed greater attention regulation capacity among TM practitioners compared to
their counterparts, due to the regular cognitive exercises involved in meditation
practice. Similarly another study indicated that majority business management student
acquire psychological benefits out of the vipasana meditation process. Their ability
to concentrate in day to day classes increased (24.1%). The clinical studies also have
found that Vipassana meditation reduces stress and cultivates mindfulness, a
nonjudgmental awareness of the present (Chiesa, & Serretti, 2010; Germer, Siegel &
Fulton, 2005). Practicing meditation made the executives relaxed, more focused, helped
in improved concentration.
This hypothesis was not accepted and the probable justification for the obtained
findings could be the small and purposive sample used in the study. Another reason
for the same can be that the adolescents of 17 to 24 years were included in the study
whereas in the existing literature different samples participated in similar studies,
therefore it might be possible that the impact of meditation on adolescents with this
age range might not be significant.
Another hypothesis was formulated to test the significant difference of
meditation on life satisfaction of Indian Adolescents. The results show that there
was highly significant difference of meditation on life satisfaction among Indian
adolescents. In other words, adolescents who meditated had better satisfaction with
their life in comparison to those who did not practice meditation. Literature provides
evidences that the vipassana meditator’s performance also seems to increase life
satisfaction, quality of life, self-esteem, self-concept and help the subjects to develop
greater tolerance of common stressors in life. Those who regularly used meditation
reported better pain-related quality of life and are more satisfied with their life. A
number of studies have reported the effect of Vipassana meditation on many
psychological variables. Usha (2000) studied on effect of Vipassana meditation on
The Role of Meditation on Mindful Awareness and Life Satisfaction of Adolescents 67
J. Psychosoc. Res.
physical and psychological level of college students. Kochargaonkar (2005) reported
that Vipassana Meditation significantly affects the Subjective Well-Being of the
adolescent. In the study of Shapiro, Astin, Bishop and Cordova (2005) Vipassana
meditation was found to as a way of understanding and personal growth, influencing
self-satisfaction.
The last hypothesis was formulated to test the correlation between mindful
awareness and life satisfaction of Indian Adolescents. The obtained results revealed
that there was very low level of positive correlation between mindful attention
awareness and satisfaction with life but it was not found to be significant. Therefore,
it can be concluded that mindful attention awareness of adolescents was not found
to be correlated with satisfaction with life. The findings of other studies from the
literature conclude with the contradictory findings. In a study, nursing students
reported better quality of life and significant decrease in negative psychological
symptoms following exposure to mindfulness-based stress reduction training (Bruce,
Young, Turner, Vander Wal, & Linden, 2002). Meditation has been found to be
positively correlated with life satisfaction. The positive impact of Vipassana on
various aspects of mental health and personality had been reported in studies.
Vipassana meditation has been found to have increased subjective well-being as
well as found to bring deeper level of overall positive change in personality and
attitude towards life and society. The benefits of vipassana are many but the same
can be achieved only through sustained practice.
The probable justification for the obtained finding could be that in the present
study situational factors such as duration of meditation and type of meditation was
not taken into consideration. Whereas the studies in the existing literature conclude
that participants who practiced specific type of meditation for specific period of time
experienced variances in their life satisfaction accordingly. Therefore it might be one
of the reasons for the contradictory findings obtained in the present study.
CONCLUSION
The major objective of the study were to investigate the role of meditation on mindful
awareness and life satisfaction of Indian Adolescents as well as to explore the relationship
of mindful awareness and life satisfaction among Indian Adolescents. The findings of
the study conclude that meditation did not play role in mindful awareness of the
adolescents but had a significant role in their life satisfaction. Besides this, it can also
be concluded that there was no significant relationship between mindful attention
awareness and life satisfaction.
Anulipi Agarwal and Vidushi Dixit
J. Psychosoc. Res.
68
Limitations and Suggestions
Every study requires limiting itself within specific constraints; similarly the present
study will also have some limitations. They are:
1. Small sample size.
2. Only adolescents will be included in the study.
3. Only quantitative method of data collection will be used.
By elimination of the above mentioned limitations, future studies could be planned
with larger sample size, including adults, with both quantitative and qualitative methods
and intervention can also be planned to gain more reliable, valid results and provide
more generalizable findings.
Implications
The present study will be initially beneficial in two ways-
1. Theoretical implication: It would add valuable information in the existing literature
about the relationship of mindful awareness and life satisfaction among Indian
adolescents.
2. Practical implication: It would provide important insights to adolescents, their
parents, elders and teachers for concentrating on ways which could help the
adolescents in improving their well-being and quality of life.
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Anulipi Agarwal and Vidushi Dixit
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Ms. Anulipi Agrawal — 502, Ram Krishan Niwas, Banasthali Vidyapith, Tonk-304022, Rajasthan.
Ms. Vidushi Dixit, Assistant Professor —Department of Psychology, Banasthali University,
Banasthali-304022
Spear, L. P. (2000).The adolescent brain and age-related behavioral manifestations. Neuroscience and
Biobehavioral Reviews, 24, 417-463.
Suldo, S. M., and Huebner, E. S. (2004). Does life satisfaction moderate the effects of stressful life
events on psychopathological behavior in adolescence? School Psychology Quarterly, 19, 93-105.
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Stuttering is a speech disorder that can cause disturbances in the timing and flow of speech. In addition to being a communication disorder, stuttering is often accompanied by a reduction in the quality of life and has impacts on social status, mental well-being, self-acceptance, and the chances of integration into the labor market. The Inquiry Based Stress Reduction (IBSR) program, developed in the United States by Byron Katie in 1986, is the clinical application of “The Work” method (Thework.com) and represents an emerging mindfulness and cognitive-reframing method. IBSR has been demonstrated to improve mental health and well-being in adults and may alleviate psychological and psychosocial symptoms of stuttering. The purpose of this trial was to examine the effect of a 12-week IBSR intervention on the overall stuttering experience and indicators of anxiety, psychological flexibility, and well-being among adults who stutter (AWS). This study was a randomized controlled clinical trial. Participants were randomized to IBSR (n = 28) and control (n = 28) groups. Validated questionnaires of overall stuttering experience (OASES-A), anxiety (STAI), psychological flexibility (PFQ), and satisfaction with life (SWLS) were completed before, after, and one month after the intervention. An intention-to-treat approach was implemented for analysis. Our results show that participants in the IBSR intervention group exhibited a greater improvement in their overall stuttering experience as compared to the control group, as well as in general information on stuttering awareness and perception, reactions to stuttering, communication in daily situations, and quality of life. In addition, we found a greater reduction in anxiety levels and an increase in satisfaction-with-life scores in the IBSR group. These results indicate that IBSR can improve the overall stuttering experience.
... The practice creates "mental breathing space", which allows young people to observe their thoughts and feelings, and respond rather than react to, a particular stimulus (Chapman et al., 2013;Shonin et al., 2012;Van Gordon et al., 2019). This greater awareness and perceptual distance from mental processes helps to foster effective emotion regulation (Agarwal & Dixit, 2017). Thus, teaching mindfulness to school children can help to equip them with skills for managing the challenges that typically arise during this developmentally demanding period of their lives (Sapthiang et al., 2018). ...
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Mindfulness has recently shown promise in mental illness treatment and preventative contexts with school-aged young people. However, there is a shortage of studies investigating the effects of school-based mindfulness interventions on young people of a pre-adolescent and early-adolescent age. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of a regional multi-site school-based mindfulness programme on wellbeing and resiliency in UK school children aged 9–12 years old. A total of 1,138 children who received mindfulness training completed the Resiliency Scale for Children and Adolescents and the Stirling Children’s Wellbeing Scale pre- and post-intervention. Results showed significant improvements following intervention delivery in positive emotional state, positive outlook, and resiliency, with resiliency effects maintained at a six-month follow-up assessment. Findings indicate that mindfulness delivered by school teachers can improve wellbeing and resiliency in children and young people.
... Studies specifically in the adolescence population of other countries have also confirmed the mediatory role of coping competency between mindfulness and well-being (Schonert-Reichl & Lawlor, 2010;Akin & Akin, 2015). The findings of these studies hold important reflections in the formulation of the objectives of the study, which attempts to extend research available on well-being of Indian adolescents (Chhabra and Kaur, 2013;Agarwal & Dixit, 2017;Talathi & Mhaske, 2017). The objectives of the study were devised to investigate the relationship between coping competence, mindfulness, and well-being and to examine the impact of coping competence and mindfulness on well-being. ...
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Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India. This e-offprint is for personal use only and shall not be self-archived in electronic repositories. If you wish to self-archive your article, please use the accepted manuscript version for posting on your own website. You may further deposit the accepted manuscript version in any repository, provided it is only made publicly available 12 months after official publication or later and provided acknowledgement is given to the original source of publication and a link is inserted to the published article on Springer's website. The link must be accompanied by the following text: "The final publication is available at link.springer.com". Abstract Adolescence is a volatile and fragile transitional period of life marked with experiences that threat well-being. The objectives of the study were devised to investigate the relationship between coping competence, mind-fulness, and well-being and to examine the role of coping competence and mindfulness on well-being. The study followed a correlational design. A total sample of 221 adolescents (111 boys and 110 girls; age range 14-19 years) were recruited from schools and colleges through purposive sampling and were administered the following scales: cognitive and affective mindfulness scale-revised, the coping competence questionnaire, and WHO Well-Being Index 5. The obtained quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, independent samples t test, Pearson's correlation and standard multiple regression. A significant positive relationship between all the three variables, viz. coping competence, mindfulness and well-being was found. Multiple regression analyses indicated that both the variables-coping competence and mindfulness (together as a model) predicted well-being but did not make significant individual contributions in predicting well-being. The implications and limitations of the study are discussed.
... These systemic unmet needs can lead to maladaptive cognitive or behavioural strategies such as thought rumination, self-blame and aggression, which reflect flawed attempts by young people to cope with difficult feelings or situations (Canale et al., 2016). This is particularly relevant for children and adolescents in whom emotions are often experienced with greater frequency and intensity due to cognitive and biological maturation, as well as having to contend with pressures relating to peer acceptance (Agarwal & Dixit, 2017;Sapthiang et al., 2018). ...
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... Life satisfaction, a component of subjective or psychological wellbeing, refers to the way in which people assess or evaluate their lives (Diener, Pressman, Hunter, & Delgadillo-Chase, 2017). Agarwal and Dixit (2017) assert that life satisfaction is "the ultimate goal" that people try to achieve throughout their lives (p. 61). ...
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To evaluate the impact of an intensive period of mindfulness meditation training on cognitive and affective function, a non-clinical group of 20 novice meditators were tested before and after participation in a 10-day intensive mindfulness meditation retreat. They were evaluated with self-report scales measuring mindfulness, rumination and affect, as well as performance tasks assessing working memory, sustained attention, and attention switching. Results indicated that those completing the mindfulness training demonstrated significant improvements in self-reported mindfulness, depressive symptoms, rumination, and performance measures of working memory and sustained attention, relative to a comparison group who did not undergo any meditation training. This study suggests future directions for the elucidation of the critical processes that underlie the therapeutic benefits of mindfulness-based interventions.
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We report the results of a short programme of mindfulness training administered to adolescent boys in a classroom setting. Intervention and control groups (N = 155) were compared on measures of mindfulness, resilience and psychological well-being. Although the overall differences between the two groups failed to reach significance, we found that within the mindfulness group, there was a significant positive association between the amount of individual practice outside the classroom and improvement in psychological well-being and mindfulness. We also found that the improvement in well-being was related to personality variables (agreeableness and emotional stability). Most students reported enjoying and benefiting from the mindfulness training, and 74% said they would like to continue with it in the future. The results of this preliminary study are encouraging. Further work is needed to refine the training programme and undertake a definitive randomised controlled trial, using both subjective and objective outcome measures, with long-term follow-up.
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A school-based program of mindful awareness practices (MAPs) was evaluated in a randomized control study of 64 second- and third-grade children ages 7–9 years. The program was delivered for 30 minutes, twice per week, for 8 weeks. Teachers and parents completed questionnaires assessing children's executive function immediately before and following the 8-week period. Multivariate analysis of covariance on teacher and parent reports of executive function (EF) indicated an interaction effect between baseline EF score and group status on posttest EF. That is, children in the MAPs group who were less well regulated showed greater improvement in EF compared with controls. Specifically, those children starting out with poor EF who went through the MAPs training showed gains in behavioral regulation, metacognition, and overall global executive control. These results indicate a stronger effect of MAPs on children with executive function difficulties. The finding that both teachers and parents reported changes suggests that improvements in children's behavioral regulation generalized across settings. Future work is warranted using neurocognitive tasks of executive functions, behavioral observation, and multiple classroom samples to replicate and extend these preliminary findings.
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Interventions based on training in mindfulness skills are becoming increasingly popular. Mindfulness involves intentionally bringing one's attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, and is often taught through a variety of meditation exercises. This review summarizes conceptual approaches to mind-fulness and empirical research on the utility of mindfulness-based interventions. Meta-analytic techniques were incorporated to facilitate quantification of findings and comparison across studies. Although the current empirical literature includes many methodological flaws, findings suggest that mindfulness-based interventions may be helpful in the treatment of several disorders. Methodologically sound investigations are recommended in order to clarify the utility of these interventions.
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The brain has evolved to understand and interact with other people. We are increasingly learning more about the neurophysiological basis of social cognition and what is known as the social brain, that is the network of brain regions involved in understanding others. This paper focuses on how the social brain develops during adolescence. Adolescence is a time characterized by change - hormonally, physically, psychologically and socially. Yet until recently this period of life was neglected by cognitive neuroscience. In the past decade, research has shown that the brain develops both structurally and functionally during adolescence. Large-scale structural MRI studies have demonstrated development during adolescence in white matter and grey matter volumes in regions within the social brain. Activity in some of these regions, as measured using fMRI, also shows changes between adolescence and adulthood during social cognition tasks. I will also present evidence that theory of mind usage is still developing late in adolescence. Finally, I will speculate on potential implications of this research for society.
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Mindfulness meditation (MM) practices constitute an important group of meditative practices that have received growing attention. The aim of the present paper was to systematically review current evidence on the neurobiological changes and clinical benefits related to MM practice in psychiatric disorders, in physical illnesses and in healthy subjects. A literature search was undertaken using Medline, ISI Web of Knowledge, the Cochrane collaboration database and references of retrieved articles. Controlled and cross-sectional studies with controls published in English up to November 2008 were included. Electroencephalographic (EEG) studies have revealed a significant increase in alpha and theta activity during meditation. Neuroimaging studies showed that MM practice activates the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and that long-term meditation practice is associated with an enhancement of cerebral areas related to attention. From a clinical viewpoint, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has shown efficacy for many psychiatric and physical conditions and also for healthy subjects, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is mainly efficacious in reducing relapses of depression in patients with three or more episodes, Zen meditation significantly reduces blood pressure and Vipassana meditation shows efficacy in reducing alcohol and substance abuse in prisoners. However, given the low-quality designs of current studies it is difficult to establish whether clinical outcomes are due to specific or non-specific effects of MM. Despite encouraging findings, several limitations affect current studies. Suggestions are given for future research based on better designed methodology and for future directions of investigation.