Publication Date

Spring 2019

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Sally Kuhlenschmidt and Dr. Timothy Thornberry (directors)

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts in Psychology, Clinical Concentration


Most mental health problems begin early in life, with 50% of all problems beginning by the age of 14. Thus, adolescents are a vulnerable population and factors impacting their mental health should be examined. One factor is stress. Stress has been linked to both mental and physical health problems, depression, and anxiety. Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health problem among adolescents. A potential treatment is that of mindfulness. Mindfulness originated from Buddhism and is the non-judgmental acceptance of thought, feelings, and experiences. Mindfulness has been found to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety, alleviate chronic pain, and reduce relapse in depression in adult populations. Four out of five studies on Mindfulness- Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) found that mindfulness reduces symptoms of anxiety in adolescents. Only two of the five MBSR studies found a significant reduction in stress. Four out of five studies on mindfulness training programs also found a reduction in anxiety symptoms. Only one of the five mindfulness training programs found a significant decrease in stress. These findings suggest that mindfulness is effective in adolescents with anxiety but perhaps not for stress. Mindfulness also promotes the development of coping skills. There is limited research on mindfulness and adolescents. Therefore, conclusions are preliminary, and more research is needed to examine the effect of mindfulness on stress, anxiety, and coping skills in adolescents. Overall, mindfulness-based treatments appear to be effective in reducing anxiety in adolescents. Research supports the use of mindfulness as an adjunct to treatment. For clinicians who are considering its use, there are online MBSR and MBCT training courses.


Child Psychology | Clinical Psychology | Psychology