Mindful Movement Intervention Applied to at Risk Urban School Children for Improving Motor, Cognitive, and Emotional-Behavioral Regulation

Author: Laura C Rice1,2, Alyssa C Deronda1, Sylee Kiran1, Kate Seidl3, Kerianne Brown1, Keri S Rosch1,4, Martha James5, Stewart H Mostofsky1,2,4
1 Center for Neurodevelopmental and Imaging Research, Kennedy Krieger Institute, 716 North Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205 USA.
2 Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205 USA.
3 City Neighbors Charter School, Baltimore, MD 21206 USA.
4 Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205 USA.
5 School of Education and Urban Studies, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD 21251 USA.
Conference/Journal: Mindfulness (N Y)
Date published: 2023 Jan 31
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1007/s12671-022-02063-7. , Word Count: 259

Preliminary evidence has supported the notion that mindful movement-based practices may offer benefits for self-regulation, particularly for vulnerable children. However, this evidence has principally stemmed from subjective assessments of behavioral change, leaving the underlying mechanisms undetermined. The present study aimed to investigate the efficacy of an in-school mindful movement intervention (MMI) for at-risk children within an urban public school for enhancing motor, cognitive, and emotional-behavioral regulation, including control of disruptive and inattentive behaviors characteristic of ADHD.

Participants included 38 (age 7-8 years) children who received twice weekly, in-school MMI, including a modified Tai Chi sequence, yoga and biomechanical warm-ups, imaginative play, and reflection. Parent and teacher ratings of disruptive behaviors, and objective measures of motor and cognitive control, were collected at baseline and after 5 months of MMI.

Significant improvements in teacher ratings of inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive, oppositional, and other disruptive behaviors were observed. Significant improvements were also observed for objective measures of both cognitive control and motor control with particular reductions in both right and left dysrhythmia.

MMI was associated with improvements across objective and subjective assessments of motor, cognitive, and behavioral control. This proof-of-principle investigation provides preliminary support for the efficacy and feasibility of a novel MMI implemented as part of the school day in an urban school setting with 7-8-year-old children to augment development of at-risk youth.

Supplementary information:
The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s12671-022-02063-7.

Keywords: Behavioral control; Imaginative play; Mindful movement intervention; Tai Chi; Urban public school; Yoga.

PMID: 36744072 PMCID: PMC9887233 DOI: 10.1007/s12671-022-02063-7