235555 One-size Does Not Fit All: Differentiating Urban Youth Based on Exposures, Reactions, and Internal Resources

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 8:30 AM

Jacinda Dariotis, PhD, MAS, MA, MS , Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Laura Feagans Gould, PhD , Academy for Educational Development, Washington DC
Tamar Mendelson, PhD , Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Mark Greenberg, PhD , Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Disadvantaged urban youth are at high risk chronic stress and, in turn, compromised cognitive and emotional regulation. Mindfulness-based approaches, such as yoga, may enhance cognitive and emotion regulation and alter the negative trajectories frequently observed among urban youth. As part of a 12-week school-based mindfulness intervention for urban youth, we aimed to enhance youth self-regulatory capacities and improve academic and social-emotional outcomes. Several research questions guide this study. First, are there different subtypes of youth with respect to levels of violence exposure and psychosocial functioning? Second, what variables describe or predict subtype membership? Third, are certain subtypes of youth more likely than others to benefit from a school-based mindfulness intervention? The study sample consists of 97 urban 4th and 5th grade students (61% female, 84% African American). Measures collected at baseline and post-intervention include social-emotional outcomes, depressive symptoms, positive and negative emotions, peer relationships and attitudes toward school, and stress responses/self-regulation). A four-cluster solution based on physiological arousal, positive and negative affect, depressive symptoms, exposure to violence, and stress reactivity/self-regulation baseline data best fit these data. We labeled these clusters, or subtypes, as: “youth doing well” (n = 30), “vulnerable youth” (n = 30), “stress-reactive youth” (n = 22), and “resilient youth” (n = 16). Analyses explore the extent to which these subtypes differentially respond to the intervention. Implications for tailoring school-based interventions to urban youth with differing strengths and needs will be discussed. The alarming number of urban youth at risk for academic, social, and substance abuse problems highlights the need for successful school-based mindfulness strategies.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the three research study questions used in this study

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a co-investigator on the study.
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.