Date of Award

8-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Bruce Blaine

Abstract

Regular and repeated adolescent stress can lead to debilitating conditions such as chronic anxiety and/or depression and both conditions have consequences that impact the present, and the future, of those experiencing clinical anxiety or depression. Anxiety impacts about 20% of the population, and it is the most common mental illness in the United States while an estimated 2.2 million (9.1%) adolescents ages 12-17 in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. Standard treatments for these conditions include combined psychotherapy and medication; however, few medications are approved for adolescent use and have side effects. Alternative therapies are being studied and a therapy style that has seen positive results are mindfulness-based interventions that include the main component of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness-based treatments have increased, and research into mindfulness has expanded for adolescent populations however, a combined effect had not been determined for anxiety and depression. Through meta-analysis of 13 included studies a small to medium effect size for both adolescent anxiety (g = 0.36) and depression (g = 0.32). Moderator analysis indicates that certain MBIs (ACT and DBT) show greater effect sizes for either anxiety or depression. The results are encouraging but more research in the area of MBIs is needed to determine their viability and cost effectiveness as treatment option for adolescent anxiety and depression. Particular attention should be paid to mindfulness’ application in schools for wide spread instruction and benefits derived by the adolescent participants experiencing stress.

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