Beneficial Effects of School-based Mindfulness Training On Impulsivity in Healthy Adolescents: Results From a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center

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Document Type



Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Behavioral Medicine | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Movement and Mind-Body Therapies | Preventive Medicine | Public Health Education and Promotion


BACKGROUND: Since impulsivity is associated with unhealthy behaviors in adolescents, interventions targeting impulsivity could positively affect such behaviors. Whether integrating mindfulness training (MT) into standard school-based health education could improve impulsivity is unknown.

PURPOSE: To obtain preliminary estimates of effect of MT integrated in standard high school health education on impulsivity.

METHODS: Two high schools in Massachusetts were randomized to school-based health education plus MT (HE-MT) or to health education plus attention control (HE-AC). The outcome was change in impulsivity at end of treatment (EOT) and 6 months after EOT.

RESULTS: Students (n = 53; 30 HE-MT, 23 HE-AC) were on average 14.5years old and 40% belonged to ethnic minorities. Compared to the control condition, HE-MT had significant effects on impulsivity at EOT (beta=-9.7; SE=3.8, p=0.01), while smaller, non-significant differences were seen 6 months after EOT.

CONCLUSION: This rigorous pilot study suggests that MT could have a beneficial effect on impulsivity in adolescents. Improvements in impulsivity could have important implications should future larger studies show that such improvements result in healthier behaviors.


Adolescents, Health education, Impulsivity, Mindfulness training, School-based programs

DOI of Published Version



Explore (NY). 2019 Mar - Apr;15(2):160-164. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2018.07.003. Epub 2018 Aug 22. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Explore (New York, N.Y.)

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Link to Article in PubMed

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