Purpose: Develop and evaluate the efficacy of an in-person, teacher-led, mindfulness education, substance misuse prevention program, Master Mind, for late elementary school students.

Teacher in classroom with students


irt AWARE for Teens with FASD


Past research has found that mindfulness has many benefits for youth, such as increases in attention, social competence, and emotion regulation, as well as decreases in stress, sleep problems, depression, anxiety, and externalizing behaviors.

Training in mindfulness may provide children with new ways to cope with stress and make healthy decisions in a variety of situations, thereby preventing children from turning to alcohol or tobacco to solve their problems. None of the existing substance misuse prevention curricula include any mindfulness training or application of mindfulness skills to children’s everyday lives.

The Master Mind program is designed to address these critical gaps in the content of contemporary prevention programming through providing developmentally appropriate, contemplative education practices. Hence, the development of an empirically-validated, mindfulness education, substance misuse prevention program for elementary school students can provide teachers, school administrators, and prevention specialists with a currently unavailable resource.

In Master Mind, children participate in activities focused on the foundations of mindfulness (e.g., awareness of thoughts) including mindful movements, mindful breathing, and mindful journeys, and most importantly, learn how to apply the mindfulness skills to their everyday lives.

The four-week Master Mind program was completed with input from experts in mindfulness, yoga, children’s self-regulation, instructional design, and implementation fidelity, as well as with input from elementary school teachers and students.

Elementary school students participated in focus groups to preview the lessons and provide feedback on the mindfulness activities. Following this, a pilot study of the revised program was conducted with two elementary school classrooms (one 4th and one 5th) to observe the implementation of the revised Master Mind program and pilot the entire data collection protocol with teachers and students. Finally, a randomized controlled trial (20 intervention classrooms and 20 wait-list control classrooms) was conducted of the effectiveness of the Master Mind program for improving children’s self-regulatory abilities and, in turn, reducing their intentions to use and actual use of alcohol or tobacco.



Parker, A. E. & Kupersmidt, J. B (2019). Teaching mindfulness to elementary school students. Presentation at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) Statewide Summer Institute, Greensboro, NC, August 2019.

Parker, A. E., Scull, T. M., & Keefe, E. (2017). Innovative approaches to substance abuse prevention. Presentation at the Prevention Is the Answer (PITA) conference, Elon, NC, June 2017.

Parker, A. E., Kupersmidt, J. B., & Scull, T. M. (2016). Integrating mindfulness education into the elementary school classroom. Poster presented at the Society for Prevention Research, San Francisco, CA, April 2016.

Parker, A. E. & Kupersmidt, J. B. (2015). Mindfulness education in elementary and middle school classrooms. Invited presentation at the Research Summit of the Yoga in Schools Symposium, Stockbridge, MA, February 2015.

Parker, A. E., Kupersmidt, J. B., & Upton, S. (2014). Mindfulness training and substance abuse prevention for youth. Workshop presented at the Annual National Prevention Network Prevention Research Conference, Hartford, CT., September 2014.

Parker, A. E., Kupersmidt, J. B., Mathis, E. T., Scull, T. M., & Sims, C. (2012). Preliminary investigation of a mindfulness education, substance abuse prevention program for elementary school children. Poster presented at the International Symposia for Contemplative Studies, Denver, CO, April 2012.

Parker, A. E. & Kupersmidt, J. B. (2012) Mindfulness in education: Tools and strategies for the classroom. Mini-skills presentation at the National Association of School Psychologists Convention, Philadelphia, PA, February 2012.

Parker, A. E. & Kupersmidt, J. B. (2011). School-based mindfulness training improves early adolescents’ self-regulatory abilities. In C. L. O’Donnell & A. Sussman (Chairs), Focusing in School: Techniques to Support Regulation of Attention and Behavior in Young Children. Association for Psychological Science, Washington, DC, May 2011.

Kupersmidt, J. B., & Parker, A. E., & Mathis, E. T. (2010). Master Mind: Mindfulness program for substance abuse prevention for elementary school students. Poster presented at the Mind and Life Summer Research Institute, Garrison, NY, June 2010.



Don't Miss the Latest News about our Research and Products

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Below, select which newsletters you would like to receive: