Exploration of the impact of a school-based mindfulness programme with students who are experiencing social, behavioural and/or emotional and well-being difficulties, alongside literacy difficulties

  • Laura Thompson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctorate in Educational, Child and Adolescent Psychology


Evidence suggests that those who experience recurrent challenges with literacy are more likely to develop well-being difficulties, with their difficulties having an impact on their self-esteem (Burden, 2008; Jordan & Dyer, 2017; Rose, 2009). Although most students with literacy needs will receive some form of support for their learning difficulty, psychological support is rarely offered (Malboeuf- Hurtubise et al., 2017c). A mixed methods design utilising both pre- and post-intervention measures and a focus group, was used to explore the impact of a school-based mindfulness programme on well-being, self-esteem, and levels of mindfulness, with primary-aged students experiencing social behavioural and/ or emotional and well-being (SBEW) difficulties, alongside literacy difficulties. The Mindfulness in Schools Project’s (MiSP), Paws b mindfulness programme, was delivered to the intervention group over four weeks, before being delivered to the waitlist control group. Measures of well-being, self-esteem and mindfulness were completed by both groups pre- and post-intervention, with participants’ views of the intervention explored during a focus group. Results showed a large significant interaction effect between group and time on students’ ratings of well-being, indicating that the intervention led to improvements in well-being. No significant changes in self-esteem and levels of mindfulness were measured. Thematic analysis of the focus group data showed the Paws b programme was well liked by the participants, particularly the curriculum content and the mindfulness techniques and practices. Several benefits of taking part in the intervention in relation to improved relationships, being better able to recognise and respond to emotions experienced and feelings of calm were described by the participants. The students also expressed that they would continue to use their new skills gained and that they think others would benefit from taking part in a school-based mindfulness programme.
Date of AwardDec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsNorthern Ireland Department for the Economy
SupervisorEnda Cunningham (Supervisor) & Emma Berry (Supervisor)


  • Mindfulness
  • well-being
  • self-esteem
  • literacy difficulties
  • dyslexia
  • mixed methods

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