Objective: We explored what predicts secondary school students’ mindfulness practice and responsiveness to universal school-based mindfulness training (SBMT), and how students experience SBMT. Method: A mixed-methods design was used. Participants were 4,232 students (11-13 years of age), in 43 UK secondary schools, who received universal SBMT (ie, “.b” program), within the MYRIAD trial (ISRCTN86619085). Following previous research, student, teacher, school, and implementation factors were evaluated as potential predictors of students’ out-of-school mindfulness practice and responsiveness (ie, interest in and attitudes toward SBMT), using mixed-effects linear regression. We explored pupils’ SBMT experiences using thematic content analysis of their answers to 2 free-response questions, 1 question focused on positive experiences and 1 question on difficulties/challenges. Results: Students reported practicing out-of-school mindfulness exercises on average once during the intervention (mean [SD] = 1.16 [1.07]; range, 0-5). Students’ average ratings of responsiveness were intermediate (mean [SD] = 4.72 [2.88]; range, 0-10). Girls reported more responsiveness. High risk of mental health problems was associated with lower responsiveness. Asian ethnicity and higher school-level economic deprivation were related to greater responsiveness. More SBMT sessions and better quality of delivery were associated with both greater mindfulness practice and responsiveness. In terms of students’ experiences of SBMT, the most frequent themes (60% of the minimally elaborated responses) were an increased awareness of bodily feelings/sensations and increased ability to regulate emotions. Conclusion: Most students did not engage with mindfulness practice. Although responsiveness to the SMBT was intermediate on average, there was substantial variation, with some youth rating it negatively and others rating it positively. Future SBMT developers should consider co-designing curricula with students, carefully assessing the student characteristics, aspects of the school environment, and implementation factors associated with mindfulness practice and responsiveness. SBMT teacher training is key, as more observed proficiency in SBMT teaching is associated with greater student mindfulness practice and responsiveness to SBMT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1256-1269
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • adolescents
  • mindfulness practice
  • mixed methods
  • responsiveness
  • school-based mindfulness training


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