Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Mindfulness helps aggressive adolescents

'Conduct disorder' is defined as 'a repetitive and persistent pattern of behaviour in which the basic rights of others ... are violated'. Estimates suggest that between 2-10% of adolescents behave in this way, often going on to develop further problems in adult life. Mindfulness - 'the awareness and nonjudgmental acceptance by a clear, calm mind of one's moment-to-moment experience' - has been used as the basis for therapies for a wide range of different conditions and a study of three teenagers in the U.S. aimed to see whether it could be effective in dealing with 'conduct disorder' as well. The study used a programme called Meditation on the Soles of the Feet, a mindfulness technique that teaches people to shift their attention from an emotionally arousing thought, event or situation to an emotionally neutral part of the body. The children were able to learn the technique successfully and showed a considerable reduction in their levels of aggression. They were able to keep their aggression at 'socially acceptable levels' for the rest of their school days.

Singh, Nirbhay N. ... [et al] - Adolescents with conduct disorder can be mindful of their aggressive behavior Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders Spring 2007, 15(1), 56-63

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