Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Monograph

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Education

Supervisor

Bax, Karen A.

Abstract

This study explored the feasibility of the Making Mindfulness Matter (M3) program for children. M3 is a universal eight-week, concurrent parent and child mindfulness program implemented in a community setting. The M3 curriculum includes mindful awareness concepts, social emotional learning, neuroscience and positive psychology. Ninety-seven children between the ages of 3-10-years and their parents participated in the M3 program. Children completed a mindfulness knowledge questionnaire pre and post-intervention and their responses to prompting questions related to using the skills at home were recorded. Parents completed the Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning pre and post-intervention to investigate the efficacy of the program in terms of changes in children’s self-regulation. An inductive content analysis was completed to evaluate children’s responses, along with linear mixed models to evaluate pre-post intervention data. Results demonstrate that the M3 program is feasible from the child perspective and from parent report of child’s self-regulatory behavior.

Summary for Lay Audience

This study examined a concurrent mindfulness program, Making Mindfulness Matter (M3). M3 is an eight-session mindfulness program that teaches children and families mindful awareness skills such a managing their thoughts, regulating their emotions, taking the perspective of others and gratitude. The main goal of the program is to teach resiliency skills to families. Few community programs exist that include both parents and children, further, limited research has been completed evaluating the outcomes of such a program in the community.

This study specifically examined the feasibility of the M3 program in a community setting, primarily from the child’s perspective. Feasibility of the program has previously been evaluated from a parents’ perspective and M3 was found to be very acceptable for parents (Pacholec, 2020). The current study explored the acceptability of the program for children as well as whether they gained knowledge of the concepts of the program from pre-to-post to determine whether M3 is effective.

To explore program feasibility, children’s responses during the program were examined; each week children were asked if they practiced an M3 skill since last session and their answers were recorded. These responses were reviewed qualitatively and sorted into similar codes and themes. Additionally, children completed a mindfulness questionnaire that assessed their mindfulness knowledge prior to and at the completion of the program, in order to assess change over the time. Finally, parents completed a measure of children’s self-regulation pre and post-intervention in order to evaluate change in self-regulation skills. The mindfulness questionnaire and measure of self-regulation were analyzed quantitatively.

The results of the study suggest that M3 is a feasible program for children. Results demonstrate the acceptability of the program as children find it engaging and are gaining mindfulness knowledge. As well, parent responses on the self-regulation measure suggest children are gaining self-regulation skills and abilities, pointing to the promise of effectiveness of the intervention for children.

Available for download on Thursday, September 30, 2021

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