The Effects of a Mindfulness and Biofeedback Program on the On- and Off-Task Behaviors of Students with Emotional Behavioral Disorders
Karena S. Rush, Maria E. Golden, Bruce P. Mortenson, Daniel Albohn, Melissa Horger
California Association of School Psychologists, Springer, July 21, 2017For a PDF version of the complete paper, click here.
Research suggests that mind-body techniques are useful for enhancing self-regulatory behaviors, including attention and emotional regulation. The majority of research in this area focuses on adult behavior. However, there has been a growing interest in using mindfulness techniques with children and more recently, in the school setting. Students identified as emotionally disturbed (ED) could potentially benefit from such interventions. In this study, a 12-week mind-body curriculum utilizing mindfulness and game-based biofeedback techniques was implemented in special education emotional support classrooms with elementary and middle school students. A quasi-experimental design was implemented to examine the effects of the mindfulness and biofeedback program on students’ on-task and off-task behaviors in the classroom. Results indicated significant decreases in overall off-task behaviors and improvements that approached significance in on-task behaviors for the participants in the treatment group (n = 14) compared to the participants in the control group (n = 17). The potential benefits of using a mindfulness and biofeedback program with ED students are discussed as well as limitations of the study, implications for practice, and recommendations for future research.