The effectiveness of mindfulness-based group therapy on anxiety, depression and stress in looked after children: a preliminary exploration

Sailaa Sunthararajah - Adoption & Fostering


Mindfulness-based therapies have indicated their efficacy for reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress, and improving mindfulness in adolescent clinical and community populations. However, looked after children make up a distinct group of young people, many of whom have endured severe developmental trauma, such as neglect and abuse, and present with complex emotional and behavioural difficulties. Currently, there is a limited amount of research examining the efficacy of mindfulness-based therapy for this population. This article presents a preliminary exploration of the participation in a mindfulness-based group therapy by nine looked after children aged 14 to 17. Outcome measures were obtained at baseline and post-intervention. The Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21) was used to assess depression, anxiety and stress and the Child and Adolescent Mindfulness Measure (CAMM) was used to assess mindfulness. The results indicated a reduction in symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress and an increase in levels of mindfulness. Feedback questionnaires were also completed by all participants and in these, the young people rated the intervention as engaging and beneficial. Despite the small sample size, the results are promising and suggest that future research on mindfulness-based group interventions for looked after children is warranted.