BACKGROUND: Preventing mental health problems in early adolescence is a priority. School-based mindfulness training (SBMT) is an approach with mixed evidence. OBJECTIVES: To explore for whom SBMT does/does not work and what influences outcomes. METHODS: The My Resilience in Adolescence was a parallel-group, cluster randomised controlled trial (K=84 secondary schools; n=8376 students, age: 11-13) recruiting schools that provided standard social-emotional learning. Schools were randomised 1:1 to continue this provision (control/teaching as usual (TAU)), and/or to offer SBMT ('.b' (intervention)). Risk of depression, social-emotional-behavioural functioning and well-being were measured at baseline, preintervention, post intervention and 1 year follow-up. Hypothesised moderators, implementation factors and mediators were analysed using mixed effects linear regressions, instrumental variable methods and path analysis. FINDINGS: SBMT versus TAU resulted in worse scores on risk of depression and well-being in students at risk of mental health problems both at post intervention and 1-year follow-up, but differences were small and not clinically relevant. Higher dose and reach were associated with worse social-emotional-behavioural functioning at postintervention. No implementation factors were associated with outcomes at 1-year follow-up. Pregains-postgains in mindfulness skills and executive function predicted better outcomes at 1-year follow-up, but the SBMT was unsuccessful to teach these skills with clinical relevance.SBMT as delivered in this trial is not indicated as a universal intervention. Moreover, it may be contraindicated for students with existing/emerging mental health symptoms. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Universal SBMT is not recommended in this format in early adolescence. Future research should explore social-emotional learning programmes adapted to the unique needs of young people.
Evid Based Ment Health
adolescence, implementation, mediation, mental health, moderation, preventive medicine, process evaluation, school-based mindfulness training