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The 'Hood Can Flourish, Too! Challenges and Successes of a Low-Cost Gratitude-Meditation Intervention among Urban Adolescents

Background: Adolescents living in the United States (U.S.) report mental challenges from depressive symptoms to suicidal ideations. The positive psychology (PP) paradigm is a preventative approach to mental health challenges. Increasing gratitude, well-studied among adolescents, is a PP intervention; yet, most U.S.-based studies were limited with respect study population diversity. Few studies included urban or multicultural youth.

Objective: The current study provides a brief introduction to PP and contemplative studies, and how the paradigms were combined into one intervention. A gratitudemeditation intervention was conducted among a diverse cohort of adolescents. The feasibility, acceptability, preliminary outcomes, as well as the challenges and successes of conducting the intervention are described.

Method: A four-week, gratitude-meditation study was manualized and tested in a middle school. The science of gratitude was merged with the secular practice of meditation to test a novel intervention among adolescents in an urban setting. The gratitude visualization exercises were extracted from The Jewels of Happiness—a collection of poetry and prose for developing positive qualities. The study feasibility and acceptability is quantified; the study challenges and successes are summarized.

Conclusion: Despite challenges encountered in conducting the study, the study was feasible, accepted, and the intervention was completed successfully.


Lunthita M Duthely

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