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03-10-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 1/2020 Open Access

Journal of Child and Family Studies 1/2020

Feasibility of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention with Sheltered Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 1/2020
Diane Santa Maria, Paula Cuccaro, Kimberly Bender, Stanley Cron, Micki Fine, Erica Sibinga
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Evidence of the acceptability and potential efficacy of mindfulness strategies with at-risk youth is mounting. Yet only a few studies have assessed these strategies among youth experiencing homelessness (YEH).


We conducted a mixed methods feasibility study of an adapted mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) with sheltered YEH. The MBI consisted of five 1.5-h sessions delivered at a youth homeless shelter over 2.5 weeks. A one-group pre/post-test design was utilized to collect quantitative assessments of real-time cognitions followed by qualitative inquiry to assess participants’ experiences and perceptions of the intervention.


Participants (N = 39) were between 18–21 years old with the majority identifying as male (56.4%), heterosexual (74.4%), Black (51.3%) and Hispanic (15.4%). Attendance was challenging for participants (2.2 sessions attended on average) who had varying work and school obligations. However, pre–post session survey data completeness was excellent (92% completion rate). Participants completed self-report surveys prior to and after each session that measured affect. Significant improvement in pre–post session outcomes were found for frustration, restlessness, stress, depression, boredom, and mindlessness. Participants reported high levels of acceptability of the curriculum content and delivery format. However, several substantial adaptations that youth identified may improve feasibility and acceptability among YEH. The results are limited by the small sample size and the use of a curriculum not developed with or for YEH.


This study demonstrates the potential feasibility of using MBIs among YEH although adaptations to existing curricula are necessary to increase relevance, acceptability of, and access to MBIs among YEH.

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