Contemplative Intervention Reduces Physical Interventions for Children in Residential Psychiatric Treatment

Joshua C. Felver, Richard Jones, Matthew A. Killam, Christopher Kryger, Kristen Race, Laura Lee McIntyre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This research explored the effectiveness of a manualized contemplative intervention among children receiving intensive residential psychiatric care. Ten children with severe psychiatric disabilities received 12 sessions (30–45 min) of “Mindful Life: Schools” (MLS) over the course of a month. Facility-reported data on the use of physical intervention (i.e., seclusions and restraints) were analyzed. Acceptability questionnaires and broad-band behavioral questionnaire data were also collected from children and their primary clinicians. Robust logistic regression analyses were conducted on person-period data for the 10 children to explore the timing of incidents resulting in the use of physical intervention. Incidents within each person-period were regressed on indicators of days of contemplative practice and days without contemplative practice. Results indicated that during the 24-h period following MLS class, relative to a comparison 24-h period, children had significantly reduced odds of receiving a physical intervention (OR = 0.3; 95 % CI 0.2, 0.5; p < 0.001). Behavioral questionnaires did not indicate significant contemplative intervention effects (ps >0.05), and MLS was found to be generally acceptable in this population and setting. These data indicate that contemplative practices acutely reduced the utilization of physical interventions. Clinicians seeking to implement preventative strategies to reduce the necessity of physical intervention in response to dangerous behavior should consider contemplative practices. Those wishing to empirically evaluate the effectiveness of contemplative practices should consider evaluating objective measures, such as utilization of physical intervention strategies, as oppose to subjective reports.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-173
Number of pages10
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Children
  • Mindfulness
  • Residential treatment
  • Seclusion and restraint
  • Yoga

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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