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Supporting youth mental health through life coaching and mindfulness




Moran, Megan J., author
Shomaker, Lauren, advisor
Lucas-Thompson, Rachel, advisor
Merz, Emily, committee member

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School-based prevention programs are a promising avenue to support youth mental health on a broad scale. Life coaching and mindfulness-based intervention are two specific approaches that may be effective in promoting resilience in the face of risk factors for adverse mental health outcomes and may be particularly well-suited for universal school-based delivery. Theory and limited empirical evidence suggest that these two types of interventions may share underlying mechanisms; however, there has not been any research directly investigating this overlap. This randomized controlled trial examined the effects of a school-based life coaching intervention with a mindfulness component on depression and anxiety symptoms as well as resilience, emotion regulation, self-efficacy, and mindfulness. Participants were N=230 early adolescents 9–13 years of age. Participants in the intervention condition received up to six weekly one-one-one coaching sessions, incorporated into the school day. All participants completed pre- and post-test self-report measures using scales validated for use with adolescents. Linear mixed effects models revealed no significant effect of the intervention on mental health outcomes, resilience, self-efficacy, or mindfulness. However, participants who received the intervention had a greater reduction in emotion regulation difficulties, relative to control, from pre- to post-intervention. Findings suggest that life coaching and mindfulness may be effectively integrated within a school-based intervention to reduce difficulties in emotion regulation, which have been shown in prior research to be precursors to mental health symptomology in adolescence.


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Embargo Expires: 05/24/2024


mental health
school-based intervention
emotion regulation


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