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05-01-2021 | REVIEW

A Systematic Review of Mindfulness-Based Interventions in Low-Income Schools

Shira C. Segal, Shruti S. Vyas, Candice M. Monson
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Low-income youth are at greater risk for persistent exposure to environmental stressors and they face a number of barriers to accessing mental health treatment. Furthermore, it is unclear whether interventions developed for youth more generally are effective for this vulnerable population. The objective of this systematic review was to review and summarize the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions delivered in low-income schools (Grades 3–9) on psychological functioning.


Searches were conducted in PsycINFO, Web of Science, PubMed, Scopus, and MEDLINE, which led to the inclusion of eight studies in the current review (seven unique samples). Study interventions, methodologies, and individual characteristics were reviewed and summarized.


Findings were inconsistent across studies, but some improvements were reported for externalizing and internalizing symptoms, emotional regulation, and perceived stress. Feasibility data were limited, with findings of high enrollment and retention, moderate levels of student-reported satisfaction, and low adherence to at-home practice.


Although diverse interventions were delivered across studies, these results suggest that school-based mindfulness interventions may have potential for increasing access to intervention for low-income youth. Strengths and limitations of the literature are reviewed, and future directions are discussed.

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