Design and refinement of the MATE program: Mindful Awareness Training and Education: how do young people understand and practise mindfulness?
AffiliationCentre for Youth Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
Document TypePhD thesis
CitationsMonshat, K. (2012). Design and refinement of the MATE program: Mindful Awareness Training and Education: how do young people understand and practise mindfulness? PhD thesis, Centre for Youth Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne.
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2012 Dr. Kaveh Monshat
Background and aims: Young people (aged 15-24) often experience difficulties regulating their emotions. This is thought to be a key mediator of distress and ill health. Improving emotion regulation is an important target for mental health promotion in this age group. Mindfulness practice includes cultivating awareness of emotions and developing skilful ways to deal with them. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve mental health in adults. Preliminary investigations have also been reported in children and adolescents. Few studies specific to young people are available and none have reported engaging young people themselves in the design process. Very little research has been reported into online delivery, and all of this work so far has involved adults. Using the Internet to provide mindfulness training has the potential to improve accessibility for young people. Very little research, all of which has involved adults, has been reported into online delivery. The aim in this project was to use a participatory, mixed methods approach to the design and preliminary evaluation of a mindfulness training program for young people in live and online editions. Methods: Initial design of the Mindful Awareness Training and Education program, MATE version 1, was informed by a review of the literature and discussion with experts. MATE v.2 was created after consultation with 13 mindfulness-naïve young people. The live edition of MATE v.2 was trialled with 11 participants. Evaluation included qualitative interviews, a focus group, written and online feedback, and quantitative measurement. The latter was conducted at commencement, immediately after the program and at six weeks’ follow-up. Qualitative data collection and analysis were informed by grounded theory. Results: Consultees on MATE v.1 described mindfulness training as a desirable activity for young people and offered valuable suggestions regarding program structure and content. Recruitment of participants for the pilot trial of MATE v.2 was difficult. Those enrolled showed a high level of engagement with both the program content and evaluation process: 73% completed all program stages, 88% of whom also attended either a focus group or interview. Benefits, in terms of improved emotion regulation and well-being, and reduction in symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression were suggested by qualitative and quantitative data. An explanatory model of participants’ experience was devised indicating that: (1) key initial benefits were a calmer mind and greater sense of agency; and (2) that with ongoing practice, additional benefits may occur. Greater understanding of their minds helped participants develop enhanced confidence and perceived competence in managing day-to-day challenges. Some participants reported transient increased distress in the middle weeks of the program. MATE v.3, the final version of the program, in live and online editions, resulted from an integration of findings. Conclusions: Mindfulness training appears to be acceptable to young people and a feasible strategy to enhance mental health and well-being in this age group. Participants in the live trial were able, within a short time, to develop a sophisticated understanding and application of mindfulness. The MATE program, as devised and refined in this project, is ready for large-scale face to face trial and for website development in its online edition.
Keywordsyoung people; youth; mindfulness; mental health; mental health promotion
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