The implementation of mindfulness-based programming/interventions (MBP) for youth, and corresponding research, has proliferated in recent years. Although preliminary evidence is promising, one pressing concern is that the heterogeneity of MBP for youth makes it difficult to infer the essential constituent program elements that may be driving specified outcomes (i.e., core program components (CPCs)).
This research employed the Delphi method to survey expert MBP scientists and instructors to identify consensus of CPCs of MBP for youth.
The study’s advisory board identified scientists based on topical publication record and peer nomination. Delphi Round 1 surveyed scientists (n = 19) to name and define potential CPCs of MBP for youth; responses were qualitatively analyzed yielding 22 MBP categorical codes. Delphi Round 2 recruited MBP instructors (n = 21) identified by scientist participants and peer instructor nomination. In Rounds 2 and 3, the full participant sample (scientists and instructors) were asked to consider the preceding Round’s results and whether each of the 22 identified codes were an essential CPC of MBPs for youth. Final Round 3 results indicated consensus (≥ 75% endorsement) of 9 of the 22 identified codes as CPCs of MBP for youth, including self-awareness, non-judging, focused attention, orienting to present moment, acceptance, compassion, somatic awareness, non-reacting, and decentering. Two additional codes (skillful responding and loving-kindness) were indicated by the instructor subgroup only.
These findings are the first to report expert consensus of identified CPCs of MBP for youth, and results have significant implications for future youth MBP evaluation, implementation, and curriculum development.