212844 Best Practices for Increasing ACHPs, Reducing Aggression and Improving Resilience

Monday, November 9, 2009

Kimberly A. Baranek, MPH , Health Education Department, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
Rick Harvey, PhD, MA , Health Education, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
Background: Alternative and Complimentary Health Practices (ACHP) including yoga, meditation, breathing and art promote resilience (e.g. self-control and positive social-emotional development), and also contribute to aggression/violence reduction (Attar, Guerra, and Tolan, 1994). Presented are evaluations and best practices representing a growing movement of seven San Francisco Bay Area ACHP intervention programs educating school or incarcerated youth in methods of aggression and stress reduction.

Method: Program evaluations of youth-based, holistic ACHP interventions were conducted along with key expert interviews to ascertain best practices.

Results: A) Dose-response relationship: Niroga Institute found (1) incarcerated youth exposed to five 15-minute sessions-per-week had lower stress scores compared to one session-per-week participants; and, (2) any program participant had higher self-control scores and lower perceived stress scores than non-program participants.

B) Resilience relationship: Other programs working with (1) incarcerated youth such as The Art of Yoga Project and Mind Body Awareness Project (e.g. yoga or meditation interventions, respectively); and (2) school-based programs such as Mindful Schools and Youth Yoga Dharma (e.g. student and teacher meditation/yoga training), Opera Picola (e.g. theater arts and breathing) and Project Happiness (e.g. social emotional learning, guided visualization, breathing) suggest increases in resilience and other positive socio-emotional assets.

Conclusion: 1) Multi-modality, holistic approaches combining yoga, meditation, breathing, art and other ACHPs work best; 2) Instructors who model positive behavior inspire youth to improve ACHPs; and 3) ACHP interventions suggest policy models for increasing youth safety and resilience during difficult times.

Learning Objectives:
Idenfity best practices for reducing aggression and improving resilience in class room and incarceration facilities.

Keywords: Alternative Medicine/Therapies, School Health Educators

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Professor in Holistic Health and Health Education
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.