PHS 795 student Lisa Charron brings attention to a study in the Chicago Public Schools using mindfulness interventions to improve educational outcomes (and eventually, health).
There is convincing evidence that chronic stress at least partly explains the connection between socio-economic status and health (both mental health and physical health). I’ve long been interested in mindfulness and have experienced both personally and second-hand the transformations in self regulation, emotional awareness, and coping that mindfulness practice can elicit. Studies on mindfulness have proliferated over the last few years, but none quite so large as the one described in this article. With so much research interest in both mindfulness and the poverty-stress-health connection, it seems an obvious extension to test whether or not mindfulness practice can successfully protect children from the deleterious effects of poverty-induced stress. I’ve read about studies that test the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions on youth and on underprivileged youth, but I’ve never read a study that compared the effect sizes for people of different socio-economic statuses. If I could encourage the researchers in this new study to look at one thing, it would be that. I also just read that SAMHSA awarded $5 million to Baltimore City for a combination of mindfulness/yoga, community building, and youth development programs. Seems like the Baltimore Health Department (and SAMHSA) have been reading the research connecting stress and social capital to health disparities, and are acting on it.