The Effect of M-SMART Training on the Stress and Distractibility of Parents and Teachers
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Teaching is one of the most influential professions that shape children's lives. External stressors related to classroom teaching and internal psychological stressqrs may cause some teachers to perform poorly, and not provide children the type of education they deserve. This level of stress is elevated when working with teachers or parents of special needs children. Mindfulness meditation practices may help reduce teacher and parent stress and improve concentration such that they may feel more efficacious and enhance their well-being. Sixty-six parents· and teachers from the major school district within a small Midwestern city were recruited to participate in a mindfulness meditation training program called Michigan-Stress Management and Relaxation Techniques (M-SMART). We conducted a randomized control study to learn whether we would detect differences in stress and attention levels between the 5-week treatment and the waitlist control groups. We found no significant findings as a function of group assignment. These nonsignificant findings suggest that there is much more that needs to be done to help teachers and parents reduce stressors related to teaching and caring for children with special needs.