Mindful Balance (Breathe Act Learn about ‘Now’ Care Every Day): A Pilot Project for Depressed Female Adolescents

Beverly Waldman Rich, Salve Regina University


Problem Statement: Major depression in adolescent females increased 65% in the past decade (Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, The Health of America, 2018). Clinically depressed individuals are classified as 30% less healthy requiring more medical care and utilizing more medical resources (Wu, Kirk, Ohinmaa & Veugelers, 2017). Stressors of school transitions, higher academic expectations and peer approval merge during an influential period of brain development for the adolescent female (Ahmed, Bittencourt-Hewitt & Sebastion, 2015). Strong correlations have been found between experiencing depression as a young female adolescent and engaging in unhealthy lifestyle behaviors (Nemiary, Shim, Mattox & Holden, 2012). Young depressed women are at a heightened risk for experiencing unsafe thoughts, suicidal ideation and engaging in lethal actions (Swahn, et al., 2009; Canady, 2015; Avenevoli, Swendsen, He, Burstein & Merikangas, 2015; SAMHSA.gov/2016; Hoying & Melnyk, 2016). Intervening with an innovative group intervention paired with mindfulness may mitigate poor health outcomes. Methods: An intervention pilot-study, Mindful BALANCE (Breathe Act Learn About ‘Now’ Care Every Day), a two-hour group therapy program for 7 weekly sessions in an outpatient department of a children’s psychiatric hospital. Inclusion criteria included healthy English-speaking females ages 12–16 with diagnosed clinical depression. The BDI-2 was used to screen for potential subjects (Beck Depression Inventory, (BDI)., n.d.). Exclusion criteria included actively practicing mindfulness or endorsing suicide. Watson’s (2002; 2008) Transpersonal Caring Healing Theory supported Mindful BALANCE by focusing on the transformative power of connections, healing relationships and self-compassion (Gouveia, Canavarro & Moreira, 2019). A standardized, clinically studied intervention, Creating Opportunities for Personal Empowerment (COPE) (https://www.cope2thriveonline.com/), a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Skills Building (CBSB) group program incorporating healthy lifestyle behavior, was followed by an innovative introduction to group mindfulness activities (Zoogman, Goldberg, Hoyt & Miller, 2015). Pre- and post- measures included PQH-9 (PRIME-MD, 2005), GAD-7 (Spitzer, et al., 2006), anthropometric metrics and a post treatment Mindfulness Survey. Analysis: PQH-9 and GAD-7, through the Wilcoxin Signed Ranks Test evaluating depressive and anxiety variations, revealed a trend toward improvement in symptomatology. Mindfulness practice was identified as a helpful vehicle to manage stress. During group, snacks were provided, and healthy choices were preferred over less nutrient rich foods. Significance: A standardized CBSB program for adolescents with a mindfulness component enhances mood, decreases perceived depression and anxiety while potentially impacting healthy behaviors and choices. Engaging adolescents in mindfulness and mental health interventions may lead to improved global well-being and may prevent potential future morbid health issues and death.

Subject Area

Mental health|Nursing|Health education

Recommended Citation

Rich, Beverly Waldman, "Mindful Balance (Breathe Act Learn about ‘Now’ Care Every Day): A Pilot Project for Depressed Female Adolescents" (2020). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI27545832.