Viewing archives for Dr. Laura Taylor

Non-Positive Experiences Encountered by Pupils During Participation in a Mindfulness-Informed School-Based Intervention

Edward J. Miller, Catherine Crane, Emma Medlicott, James Robson and Laura Taylor


Mindfulness-informed school-based mental health curricula show much promise in cultivating a positive school climate which supports the well-being and mental health of pupils and staff. However, non-positive pupil outcomes and experiences of school-based mental health interventions are often under-recognised and under-reported. This study sought to capture non-positive pupil experiences of a popular mindfulness-informed curriculum. Some pupils across all schools in the study described non-positive experiences, including having troubling thoughts and emotions, and not finding the programme effective. Contexts surrounding these experiences are explored and linked to existing literature, and subsequent recommendations for improvements are made, including the importance of having clear programme structure, definitions and aims, acknowledging and accommodating fidelity issues as best as possible, and better highlighting the potential for non-positive experiences and how they may be reduced.

Dr. Laura Taylor

Laura is the Deputy Director at the Wellbeing Research Centre. Laura holds a Doctorate in Experimental Psychology and an MSc in Psychological Research Methods from the University of Oxford. Laura’s research focuses on child and adolescent mental health and wellbeing, and she leads the Child and Adolescent Wellbeing research stream at the Centre.

Laura works with prominent global organisations, helping them gain insights into the leading science around child and adolescent wellbeing and designing strategies to improve wellbeing for young people globally. Laura is currently redesigning the wellbeing framework for the International Baccalaureate Organisation for use with their 1.2 million pupils in over 5,000 schools globally.

Teachers “Finding Peace in a Frantic World”: An Experimental Study of Self-Taught and Instructor-Led Mindfulness Program Formats on Acceptability, Effectiveness, and Mechanisms

Jesus Montero-Marin, Laura Taylor, Catherine Crane, Mark T. Greenberg, Tamsin J. Ford, J. Mark G. Williams, Javier García-Campayo, Anna Sonley, Liz Lord, Tim Dalgleish, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, MYRIAD team, & Willem Kuyken

Mindfulness training (MT) is considered appropriate for school teachers and enhances well-being. Most research has investigated the efficacy of instructor-led MT. However, little is known about the benefits of using self-taught formats, nor what the key mechanisms of change are that contribute to enhanced teacher well-being. This study compared instructor-led and self-taught MT based on a book (Williams & Penman, 2011) in a sample of secondary school teachers. We assessed expectancy, the degree to which participants believed the intervention was effective, their program engagement, well-being and psychological distress, and evaluated whether mindfulness and self-compassion skills acted as mediators of outcomes. In total, 206 teachers from 43 schools were randomized by school to an instructor-led or self-taught course—77% female, mean age 39 years (SD = 9.0). Both MT formats showed similar rates of participant expectancy and engagement, but the instructor-led arm was perceived as more credible. Using linear mixed-effects models, we found the self-taught arm showed significant pre-post improvements in self-compassion and well-being, while the instructor-led arm showed such improvements in mindfulness, self-compassion, well-being, perceived stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout. Changes over time significantly differed between the groups in all these outcomes, favoring the instructor-led arm. The instructor-led arm, compared with the self-taught, indirectly improved teacher outcomes by enhancing mindfulness and self-compassion as mediating factors. Mindfulness practice frequency had indirect effects on teacher outcomes through mindfulness in both self-taught and instructor-led arms. Our results suggest both formats are considered reasonable, but the instructor-led is more effective than the self-taught.

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The Role of Schools in Early Adolescents’ Mental Health: Findings From the MYRIAD Study

Tamsin Ford, Michelle Degli Espoti, Catherine Crane, Laura Taylor, Jesús Montero-Marín, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore et al. 

Recent studies suggest deteriorating youth mental health. The current UK policy emphasises the role of schools for mental health promotion and prevention, but little data exist on what aspects of schools explain pupils’ mental health. We explored school-level influences on the mental health of young people in a large school-based sample from the UK…

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Frequency of Self-reported Unpleasant Events and Harm in a Mindfulness-Based Program in Two General Population Samples

Ruth Baer, Catherine Crane, Jesus Montero_Marin, Alice Phillips, Laura Taylor, Alice Tickell, Willem Kuyken & The MYRIAD Team


Evidence-based mindfulness programs have well-established benefits, but the potential for harmful effects is understudied. We explored the frequency and severity of unpleasant experiences and harm in two nonclinical samples participating in an adaptation of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for the general population. Study 1 included 84 schoolteachers; study 2 included 74 university students. Both studies were uncontrolled. Participants completed self-report questionnaires about psychological symptoms before and after the 8-week mindfulness course. After the course, they responded to a survey designed for this study that included Likert ratings and free-text questions about unpleasant experiences and harm. All data were collected online. In both samples, about two-thirds of participants reported unpleasant experiences associated with mindfulness practice during the course. Most participants (85–92%) rated these experiences as not at all or somewhat upsetting; some indicated that difficult experiences led to important learning or were beneficial in some way. The proportion of participants reporting harm from the mindfulness course ranged from 3 to 7%. The proportion showing reliable deterioration on symptom questionnaires ranged from 2 to 7%. Those reporting harm and those showing reliable deterioration on questionnaires were largely separate subgroups; only one participant fell in both. Findings highlight the need for mindfulness teachers to manage expectations about benefits and difficulties that may occur in mindfulness-based programs and to work skilfully with participants experiencing difficulties. Experiences of harm may not be captured by symptom questionnaires and should be explicitly assessed in other ways.

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