Publications

Come back soon to read more about recent publications generated by the Mind Body Laboratory!

Felver, J. C., Razza, R., Morton, M. L., Clawson, A. J., & Mannion, R. S. (submitted).  School-Based Yoga Intervention Increases Adolescent Resilience. 

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Abstract: Youth often experience environmental stressors leading to negative long-term outcomes. Providing youth with tools to improve resilience is paramount for student success in the face of challenges. Yoga has emerged as a contemplative intervention equipped to enhance resiliency among youth, yet research replicating such results in school-settings has been limited to-date. The current study investigated the effects of a 15-session yoga intervention “Kripalu Yoga in the Schools” over the course of 7 weeks among an ethnically diverse, at-risk student population. The 6th grade students (n=23 students; 52% female; 65% White; mean age = 12.1 years) were either enrolled in physical education class and offered the yoga intervention, or were enrolled in art and music and served as a control condition. To evaluate the KYIS intervention effects on student psychosocial characteristics, the Social-Emotional Assets and Resilience Scales short version (Merrell 2011) and the Behavior Assessment System for Children – 3rd Edition Behavioral and Emotional Screening (Reynolds & Kamphaus, 2015) self-report questionnaires were administered pre- and post-delivery of the curriculum. The results indicated that students receiving the intervention increased in resilience over time. Thus, yoga may provide a buffer against the effects of stress among youth.

Felver, J. C., Clawson, A. J., Bodo, M. L., Brier-Kennedy, E., & DiFlorio, R. (submitted)..  School-based mindfulness intervention supports adolescent resiliency. 

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Abstract: Adolescent students face significant environmental stressors that can lead to negative long-term outcomes, and it is therefore imperative to enhance youth’s resiliency to meet these challenges. Mindfulness-based interventions offer a promising modality to enhance personal resiliency, although limited research has been conducted to date replicating MBI protocols in school-settings with at-risk adolescents. This research evaluated the effects of a 7-session version of the mindfulness intervention “Learning to BREATHE” on an ethnically diverse at-risk student population. Two classrooms of students were randomly assigned to intervention or normal health education programming. Results indicated significant intervention effects to self-reported psychosocial resiliency, with students receiving the intervention reporting stable levels of resilience over time and students in the control condition reporting significant reductions; students did not report changes to psychosocial problem behavior, school attendance, or grades. This work suggests that school-based mindfulness interventions may buffer against the effects of stress in adolescence, specifically by maintaining student’s resiliency and thus targeting positivistic characteristics rather than decreasing the rates of problematic behaviors.

Felver, J. C., Felver, S. L., Margolis, K. L., Ravitch, N. K., Romer, N., & Horner, R. H. (in press).  Effectiveness and social validity of the Soles of the Feet mindfulness-based intervention with special education students.  Contemporary School Psychology  10.1007/s40688-017-0133-2.

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Abstract: Objective: Soles of the Feet for Students (SOF) has demonstrated effectiveness at increasing academic engagement among general education students. This work is intended to replicate and extend previous work by exploring the effectiveness and social validity of SOF among students receiving special education services, who had low levels of academic engagement and high levels of disruptive classroom behavior, in a public school setting. Methods: This study utilized a multiple-baseline single-subject design. Four students (grades 4-7) were taught SOF over the course of five 20-30 minute sessions. Direct observation data of student academically engaged behavior was collected during baseline and post intervention study phases. Students and teachers also completed social validity questionnaires. Results: Following SOF intervention, all four students demonstrated improved mean levels of academically engaged behavior. Students and teachers also reported that SOF was an acceptable, feasible, and effective intervention. Conclusions: SOF offers a brief and effective manualized intervention to improve student academic engagement, and conversely reduce classroom disruptive behavior, for students receiving special education services.

Felver, J. C., Jones, R., Killam, M. A., Kryger, C., Race, K., & McIntyre, L. L. (2017).  Contemplative intervention reduces physical interventions for children in residential psychiatric treatment.  Prevention Science  10.1007/s11121-016-0720-x.

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Abstract: Objective: This research explored the effectiveness of a manualized contemplative intervention among children receiving intensive residential psychiatric care. Method: Ten children with severe psychiatric disabilities received 12 sessions (30-45 minutes) of “Mindful Life: Schools” (MLS) over the course of a month. Facility reported data on the use of physical intervention (i.e., seclusions and restraints) were analyzed. Acceptability questionnaires and broad-band behavioral questionnaire data were also collected from children and their primary clinicians. Results: Robust logistic regression analyses were conducted on person-period data for the 10 children to explore the timing of incidents resulting in the use of physical intervention. Incidents within each person-period were regressed on indicators of days of contemplative practice and days without contemplative practice. Results indicated that during the 24-hour period following MLS class, relative to a comparison 24-hour period, children had significantly reduced odds of receiving a physical intervention (OR = 0.3; 95% CI: 0.2, 0.5; p < 0.001). Behavioral questionnaires did not indicate significant contemplative intervention effects (ps > 0.05), and MLS was found to be generally acceptable in this population and setting. Conclusions: These data indicate that contemplative practices acutely reduced the utilization of physical interventions. Clinicians seeking to implement preventative strategies to reduce the necessity of physical intervention in response to dangerous behavior should consider contemplative practices. Those wishing to empirically evaluate the effectiveness of contemplative practices should consider evaluating objective measures, such as utilization of physical intervention strategies, as oppose to subjective reports.

Felver, J. C., Celis-DeHoyos, E., Tezanos, K., & Singh, N. (2016).  A systematic review of mindfulness-based interventions for youth in school settings.  Mindfulness  doi: 10.1007/s12671-015-0389-4.

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Abstract: There is a growing interest in the use of mindfulness-based interventions (MBI) on youth, which has recently expanded to include the study of students in school settings. This article systematically reviewed the existing literature of applied studies using MBI with students in school settings in order to identify limitations in the scientific literature and inform future research directions. Twenty-eight studies were selected for review and were coded across multiple domains, including methodologies employed, student characteristics, intervention characteristics, and outcome variables. Results quantitatively summarized the coded variables, and strengths and limitations in the literature were subsequently identified. We conclude with specific recommendations for future interventions scientists wishing to study the utility of MBI in school settings.

Felver, J. C., Butzer, B., Olson, K., Smith, I., & Khalsa, S. B. (2015)..  Effects of a school-based yoga curriculum on mood state.  Contemporary School Psychology  19.  doi:10.1007/s40688-014-0031-9.

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Abstract: The purpose of the present study was to directly compare the acute effects of participating in a single yoga class versus a single standard physical education (PE) class on student mood. Forty-seven high school students completed self-report questionnaires assessing mood and affect immediately before and after participating in a single yoga class and a single PE class one week later. Data were analyzed using paired-samples t tests and Wilcoxon-signed ranks tests and by comparing effect sizes between the two conditions. Participants reported significantly greater decreases in anger, depression, and fatigue from before to after participating in yoga compared to PE. Significant reductions in negative affect occurred after yoga but not after PE; however, the changes were not significantly different between conditions. In addition, after participating in both yoga and PE, participants reported significant decreases in confusion and tension, with no significant difference between groups. Results suggest that school-based yoga may provide unique benefits for students above and beyond participation in PE. Future research should continue to elucidate the distinct psychological and physiological effects of participating in yoga compared to PE activities.

Felver, J. C., Tipsord, J. M., Morris, M. J., Racer, K. H., & Dishion, T. J. (in press).  The effects of mindfulness-based intervention on children’s attention regulation.  Journal of Attention Disorders  doi: 10.1177/1087054714548032.

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Abstract: This article describes results from a randomized clinical trial of a mindfulness-based intervention for parents and children, Mindful Family Stress Reduction, on a behavioral measure of attention in youths, the Attention Network Task (ANT). Method: Forty-one parent–child dyads were randomly assigned to either the mindfulness-based intervention condition or a wait-list control. School-age youths completed the ANT before and after the intervention. Results: Results demonstrate significant, medium-size (f2 = −.16) intervention effects to the conflict monitoring subsystem of the ANT such that those in the intervention condition decreased in conflict monitoring more than those in the wait-list control. Youths in the intervention condition also showed improvements in their orienting subsystem scores, compared with controls. Conclusion: Mindfulness-based interventions for youths have potential utility to improve attentional self-regulation, and future research should consider incorporating measures of attention into interventions that use mindfulness training.