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01-03-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 3/2015

Journal of Child and Family Studies 3/2015

Using Integra Mindfulness Martial Arts to Address Self-regulation Challenges in Youth with Learning Disabilities: A Qualitative Exploration

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 3/2015
Karen Milligan, Paul Badali, Flavia Spiroiu


Youth with learning disabilities (LDs) have information processing challenges that place them at increased risk for emotion dysregulation and often rely on coping strategies that emphasize avoidance of challenging emotions, experiences or tasks. Integra mindfulness martial arts (MMA) was developed to address and help participants cope with these challenges and increase self-awareness and present-focus. The present exploratory qualitative study includes results from a post-treatment questionnaire completed by 29 youth aged 12–17 and 17 parents, and in-depth interviews with 7 youth who participated in MMA and 5 parents. (1) Youth goals for MMA; (2) perceptions of program components and delivery; (3) outcomes associated with participation; and (4) challenging/negative aspects of the program were explored. Thematic analysis of interviews suggested that the development of mastery and pride was a common motivating factor for entering treatment. The mindfulness component of MMA was identified as helpful in promoting a sense of calm, tolerance and acceptance of distress, and self-understanding in youth. This research provides preliminary support for the Integra MMA program from the perspective of participants. Future research directions and clinical implications for treatment of youth with LDs are discussed.

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