Exploring an intensive meditation intervention for incarcerated youth

Elizabeth S. Barnert, Samuel Himelstein, Sarah Herbert, Albert Garcia-Romeu, Lisa J. Chamberlain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: We examined the experiences of incarcerated adolescent males (N = 29) who participated in a one-day meditation retreat and 10-week meditation programme. Method: Self-report surveys assessing mindfulness, self-regulation, impulsivity and stress; behavioural assessments; and focus group data were examined. Results: We observed significantly higher scores in self-regulation (p = .012) and psychometric markers demonstrated psychological enhancement. No behavioural change was observed. Six themes emerged: enhanced well-being, increased self-discipline, increased social cohesiveness, expanded self-awareness, resistance to meditation and future meditation practice. Conclusions: Early evidence suggests that meditation training for incarcerated youth is a feasible and promising intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-73
Number of pages5
JournalChild and Adolescent Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Incarcerated
  • Meditation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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