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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Adolescents’ initial experiences of sitting mindfulness meditation Farzaneh, Babak


Mindfulness-based programs have become popular clinical interventions and are receiving attention in the scientific literature. This qualitative study explored the initial experiences of adolescents with “Sitting Mindfulness Meditation” (SMM: Kabat-Zinn, 1994, 2002), a technique that involves intentionally focusing one’s attention on the physical sensations of the breath while engaging in non-evaluative and non-judgmental observation of one’s thoughts, feelings, and sensations. This study explored SMM using a phenomenological design to answer the question, “What are the initial experiences of adolescents practicing SMM?” Participants, grade 11 and 12 students, were recruited from two secondary high schools in a large metropolitan Canadian city through poster advertisements and contacting high school counsellors. In order to capture the essence of the phenomenon being investigated, two semi-structured interviews were conducted. The first interview followed adolescents’ initial experiences with SMM, using CD instructions from Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (Kabat-Zinn, 2002). The second research interview was conducted a week after the adolescents had practiced SMM every second day for a total of three sessions at home using the CD. The adolescents were encouraged to keep a journal of their experiences at home. All data were analyzed according to Giorgi and Giorgi’s (2003) psychological phenomenological method. Eight major structures capturing participants’ experiences of SMM emerged: a) expectations of SMM; b) attention and concentration; c) distraction; d) awareness; e) self-reflection; f) getting in touch with feelings; g) beneficial experiences; and h) conceptualization of SMM. This study contributes to a greater understanding of how SMM may be experienced by adolescents. Implications for future research and application of mindfulness-based interventions are discussed.

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