Relations between impulsivity and mindfulness in adolescents with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties
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Impulsivity and the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention were explored in relation to improving behavioural self-regulation in adolescents with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD). A computerised choice task (CCT) was developed to measure delay discounting (a shift in choice from a larger reward to a smaller reward as the delay to the larger reward increases) in adolescents with BESD and compared it with several additional measures of impulsivity. The degree to which impulsivity and thoughts are related was explored using mindfulness measures. Effects of task type (computer versus sand-timer) and task context (school versus house) were also studied. Results suggested an effect of method but not location on discounting. Few between measure comparisons were significant, suggesting the possibility that different impulsivity measures assess different forms of impulsivity. However a significant negative correlation was found between impulsivity and mindfulness. A mindfulness-based intervention was implemented and results suggest potentially beneficial effects of applying mindfulness training to improve self-control and self-regulation in adolescents with BESD. Further research is necessary to determine the effectiveness of mindfulness training in adolescents with BESD, and explore differences between impulsivity measures to assist with effective measurement and intervention.
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