A Preliminary, Randomized-Controlled Trial of Mindfulness and Game-Based Executive Function Trainings to Promote Self-Regulation in Internationally-Adopted Children

Jamie M. Lawler, Elisa A. Esposito, Colleen M. Doyle, Megan R. Gunnar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although many children adopted internationally show remarkable recovery once placed in families, as a group they continue to exhibit persisting developmental deficits and delays in self-regulation. The current study uses a stratified, randomized, controlled trial to evaluate the effects of mindfulness-based and executive function trainings (EFTs) on internationally adopted (IA) children's self-regulation, including effortful/inhibitory control, attention, delay of gratification, and emotion-regulation. IA children ages 6-10 years were randomized into mindfulness training (MT), EFT, or no intervention (NI) groups. The MT and EFT groups attended 12 one-hour group sessions. Ninety-six children (MT, n = 33; EFT, n = 32; NI, n = 31) completed the study and were tested on computerized and non-computerized measures of self-regulation. Compared with the NI group, the MT group improved delay of gratification, and the EFT group improved inhibitory control and selective attention. There was no effect of either intervention on emotion regulation. MTs and EFTs show promise for improving self-regulation in IA children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1513-1525
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopment and psychopathology
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the children and families who participated, Bonny Donzella, Kristin Frenn, Shanna Mliner, Bao Moua, Maria Kroupina, the International Adoption Project, and the Center for Neurobehavioral Development. This work was supported by the Eva O. Miller Fellowship to Jamie M. Lawler and seed grants by the Center for Neurobehavioral Development and the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2019 Cambridge University Press.

Keywords

  • adoption
  • attention
  • executive function
  • mindfulness
  • self-regulation

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