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Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research
The University of Chicago Press
Special Issue on Intervention Research
For homeless youth living on the streets, increased awareness of the environment gained through mindfulness-based interventions could help decrease the risk for victimization in potentially dangerous situations. However, mindfulness-based approaches with homeless youth have received little empirical attention. In this pilot study, the authors tested an intensive, skill-building intervention designed to train homeless youth (n=97; ages 18-21 years) to practice mindfulness and respond to risks on the streets. While the intervention had no impact on total mindfulness, a significant effect was found for mindfulness subscales; intervention youth improved their observation skills significantly more than control youth. Qualitatively, certain intervention strategies (i.e., facilitating, personal sharing, teaching, and peer activation) demonstrated utility in actively engaging youth in mindfulness material, whereas challenges (meeting basic needs, fight or flight instinct, and a generalized distrust of service providers) created difficulties in implementing mindfulness skills. Modified Author Abstract.