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Incarcerated young men commonly experience problems with impulsivity and emotional dysregulation. Mindfulness training could help but the evidence is limited. This study developed and piloted an adapted mindfulness-based intervention for this group (n = 48).
Feasibility of recruitment, retention, and data collection were assessed, and the effectiveness of mindfulness training measured using validated questionnaires. Twenty-five qualitative interviews were conducted to explore experiences of the course, and barriers and facilitators to taking part.
The findings indicated that recruitment and retention to mindfulness training groups was a challenge despite trying various adaptive strategies to improve interest, relevance, and acceptability. Quantitative data collection was feasible at baseline and post-course. There were significant improvements following training in impulsivity (effect size [ES] 0.72, 95% CI 0.32–1.11, p = 0.001), mental wellbeing (ES 0.50; 95% CI 0.18–0.80; p = 0.003), inner resilience (comprehensibility ES 0.35; 95% CI − 0.02–0.68; p = 0.03), and mindfulness (ES 0.32; 95% CI 0.03–0.60; p = 0.03). The majority (70%) of participants reported finding the course uncomfortable or disconcerting at first but if they chose to remain, this changed as they began to experience benefit. The body scan and breathing techniques were reported as being most helpful. Positive experiences included better sleep, less stress, feeling more in control, and improved relationships.
Developing and delivering mindfulness training for incarcerated young men is feasible and may be beneficial, but recruitment and retention may limit reach. Further studies are required that include a control group.
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- Adaptation of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Incarcerated Young Men: a Feasibility Study
Stewart W. Mercer
- Springer US