Purpose: Develop and pilot test the efficacy of an in-person, teacher-led, mindfulness education program, Aware, for helping high school students cope with everyday stress.

Aware for High School Classrooms Research Project


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Many adolescents experience school-related stress on a daily basis, especially those students making the transition from middle school to high school.

Because some high school students lack the necessary coping skills to effectively deal with stress, they are in need of new ways to manage their daily lives. Mindfulness training is one possible avenue to build youth’s coping repertoires. Emerging research in mindfulness with youth has revealed a range of benefits including improvements in self-regulatory abilities and effective stress responses and decreases in anxiety and externalizing behaviors. Training in mindfulness may provide adolescents with new ways to cope with stress, thereby preventing the development of future health illnesses and diseases. However, no evidence-based programs currently exist that utilize mindfulness as a tool to teach adolescents effective coping skills that may later reduce their stress, as well as physical health problems related to stress.


Therefore, the aim of this project was to begin to fill this gap by developing and determining the feasibility of a universal, innovative, developmentally-appropriate, evidence-based mindfulness program for use with high school students. The program educates students daily about the impact of stress on the mind and body, as well as new ways to cope with everyday stressors. As part of the mindfulness coping program, adolescents participate in teacher-led activities focused on the foundations of mindfulness and these activities will be comprised of mindful breathing, mindful movements, and mindful journeys. Additionally, adolescents learn how to apply the mindfulness skills to their everyday lives, as well as how academic and social stressors may negatively influence their bodies and mind. Students can access online resources via the program’s website to continue their daily practice at home.

High school teachers and students participated in separate focus groups to preview the lessons and provide feedback on the program. A feasibility study of program was conducted in six high school classrooms (3 intervention and 3 wait-list control) to evaluate the feasibility of the procedures and program. Teachers’ and students’ responses to pre- and post-test questionnaires and input on the feasibility of the program were obtained.



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