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19-03-2019 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 9/2019

Mindfulness 9/2019

The Role of Mindfulness in Psychological Outcomes for Children Following Hurricane Exposure

Mindfulness > Uitgave 9/2019
Nicolette L. Cutright, Emily E. Padgett, Samantha R. Awada, Jacqueline M. Pabis, Laura D. Pittman
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The goal of the present study was to examine whether mindfulness is related to psychological outcomes in children and adolescents after hurricane exposure, and to examine the strength of the relationship. It was hypothesized that mindfulness would be negatively associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, internalizing symptoms, and externalizing symptoms. It was also hypothesized that mindfulness would act as a moderator of PTSD symptoms, internalizing, and externalizing symptoms.


The study’s sample consisted of 108 children and adolescents (74.5% Black, Non-Hispanic, 56.1% female, M age = 11.59) in grades 3–12 recruited from schools on the island of St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands, 3 months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Participants completed questionnaires electronically at school reporting on demographic characteristics, hurricane exposure, mindfulness strategies, and PTSD, internalizing, and externalizing symptoms.


Results from the current study showed that mindfulness was negatively correlated with PTSD symptoms, internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Additionally, it was found that the association between perceived life threat and internalizing symptoms was positive when children reported lower levels of trait mindfulness, but the association was not significant when children reported higher levels of trait mindfulness.


The results of the present study support the importance of mindfulness among children and adolescents and suggest that mindfulness is a helpful strategy for children and adolescents exposed to trauma. While more research is needed, the results suggest that mindfulness may be helpful to include in intervention for the psychological functioning of children following exposure to a hurricane.

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