Research on Mindfulness-Based Programs

Project Title: The Healthy Teacher Study

Research Team: Robert Roeser, Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, , Kimberly Thomson, and Eva Oberle

Participants: Elementary and High School Teachers

Location: Vancouver School District

Description: The Healthy Teacher Study evaluated a mindfulness-based stress reduction program for educators (Stress Management and Stress Reduction Training; SMART-in Education). We investigated the impact of attending the 12-week program on attendees’ biomarkers of stress, cognitive abilities, and self-reported measures of well-being and coping with students. We randomly assigned teachers to either attend the program or stay on a waitlist. Pretest, post-test, and 3-month follow up measures were assessed.


Roeser, R., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., Jha, A., Wilensky, R., Oberle, E., Thomson, K., Taylor, C., & Harrison, J. (2013). Mindfulness training and reductions in teacher stress and burnout: Results from two randomized, waitlist- control field trials. Journal of Educational Psychology. doi: 10.1037/a0032093

Taylor, C., Harrison, J., Haimovitz, K., Oberle, E., Thomson, K., Schonert-Reichl, K.A., Roeser, R.W. (2015). Examining ways that a mindfulness-based intervention reduces stress in public school teachers: A mixed-methods study. Mindfulness. doi: 10.1007/s12671-015-0425-4

Funding: This study was made possible through funding by the Fetzer Institute, and the Mind and Life Institute


Project Title: Evaluations of the MindUP Program

Research Team: Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, Robert Roeser, Adele Diamond, Tim Oberlander, Molly Lawlor, Eva Oberle, Jenna Whitehead, Jennifer Kitil, and Jacqueline Maloney

Participants: Children Ages 9 -12 (Grades 4 to 7) and their teachers

Location: Coquitlam School District and Vancouver School District

Description: Over the last decade, the SEL lab has conducted several studies examining the implementation, acceptability, and outcomes of MindUP – a mindfulness-based SEL program.

Our latest study was a randomized controlled trial conducted at three time points over the 2011-12 school year. It evaluated the single and joint effectiveness of two mindfulness-based intervention programs: one for teachers (SMART-in-Education), and one for elementary school students administered in the classroom by their teachers (MindUp). We employed a battery of self-report, teacher-report, and peer-report measures of students’ social-emotional competencies, self-compassion, and mindful awareness. Additionally, students completed computer tasks to measure executive functioning, and provided cortisol samples as biological measures of stress. Teachers filled out implementation calendars to keep track of program fidelity. Both teachers and students who participated in MindUP completed consumer satisfaction surveys outlining their perceptions and experiences with the program. Follow-up data was conducted a year later. Data are currently being analyzed.

In 2014, we will begin a longitudinal follow up study with students who took part in a study on MindUP in 2008 when they were in 4th and 5th grade.


Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Lawlor, M. S. (2010). The effects of a mindfulness-based education program on pre- and early adolescents well-being and social and emotional competence. Mindfulness, 1, 137-151.

Schonert-Reichl, K. A., Oberle, E., Lawlor, M. S., Abbott, D., Thomson, K., Oberlander, T. F., & Diamond, A. (2015). Enhancing cognitive and social and emotional development through a simple-to administer mindfulness-based school program for elementary school children: A randomized controlled trial. Developmental Psychology, 51, 52-66. doi: 10.1037/a0038454

Maloney, J.E., Lawlor, M.S., Whitehead, J.K., Schonert-Reichl, K.A. (2016). A mindfulness-based social and emotional learning curriculum for school-aged children: The MindUP Program. In K.A. Schonert-Reichl & R.W. Roeser (Eds.) Handbook of mindfulness in education (pp. 313 – 334). doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-3506-2_20

Funding: These studies were made possible through funding by the Hawn Foundation and the Mind and Life Institute


Project Title: Mindful High Schools

Research Team: Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, Jenna Whitehead, Jacqueline Maloney, and Karen Forsyth

Participants: 16 to 18 year olds (grades 11 and 12)

Location: Vancouver School Board

Description: In 2014, we conducted a feasibility study to investigate the potential of integrating mindfulness practices and yoga into an alternative high school program developed for students who were at risk for dropping out of high school. We collected data using self-report surveys on social-emotional competencies, mindful awareness, and self-compassion. Additionally, students completed Affect Grids before and after each mindfulness practice to track their mood and energy levels. They also took part in computer tasks to measure executive functions and completed a consumer satisfaction survey at the end of the study.  Data analyses are underway.

Phase two of this study will involve conducting one-on-one interviews with high school educators who employ mindfulness practices in the classroom. Interviews will take place through out the 2014/2015 school year.