Adaptation of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Incarcerated Young Men: a Feasibility Study

Sharon Simpson, Sally Wyke, Stewart W. Mercer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Incarcerated young men commonly experience problems with impulsivity and emotional dysregulation. Mindfulness
training could help but the evidence is limited. This study developed and piloted an adapted mindfulness-based intervention for
this group (n = 48).
Methods Feasibility of recruitment, retention, and data collection were assessed, and the effectiveness of mindfulness training
measured using validated questionnaires. Twenty-five qualitative interviews were conducted to explore experiences of the
course, and barriers and facilitators to taking part.
Results The findings indicated that recruitment and retention to mindfulness training groups was a challenge despite trying
various adaptive strategies to improve interest, relevance, and acceptability. Quantitative data collection was feasible at baseline
and post-course. There were significant improvements following training in impulsivity (effect size [ES] 0.72, 95% CI 0.32–1.11,
p = 0.001), mental wellbeing (ES 0.50; 95% CI 0.18–0.80; p = 0.003), inner resilience (comprehensibility ES 0.35; 95% CI −
0.02–0.68; p = 0.03), and mindfulness (ES 0.32; 95% CI 0.03–0.60; p = 0.03). The majority (70%) of participants reported
finding the course uncomfortable or disconcerting at first but if they chose to remain, this changed as they began to experience
benefit. The body scan and breathing techniques were reported as being most helpful. Positive experiences included better sleep,
less stress, feeling more in control, and improved relationships.
Conclusions Developing and delivering mindfulness training for incarcerated young men is feasible and may be beneficial, but
recruitment and retention may limit reach. Further studies are required that include a control group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1568-1578
Number of pages10
Issue number8
Early online date21 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2019


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