Learning to Breathe

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Program description

Learning to Breathe provides a lesson-based approach to SEL with a focus on intrapersonal competence through mindfulness. It includes programming at grades 9-12 and demonstrates evidence of effectiveness at grades 10-12. Translated materials for Learning to Breathe are available in Chinese.

      • SEL lessons
      • Relationship building
      • SEL generalization
      • Shared agreements
      • Adult SEL
      • Student supports
    • Onsite in-person training
    • Virtual training
    • Offsite training
    • Train the trainer model
    • Administrator support
    • Coaching
    • Technical assistance
    • Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
    • Online resource library
    • Self-report tools for monitoring implementation
    • Observational tools
    • Tools for measuring student success

Evidence of effectiveness

Results from a quasi-experimental evaluation conducted in the 2011-2012 academic year (published in 2013) supported the effectiveness of Learning to Breathe for high school students. This evaluation included 216 grade 10 through 12 students enrolled in suburban schools in the US Northeast (white = 89%). This evaluation found that students who participated in the program demonstrated significantly improved self-reported emotional regulation, specifically decreases in lack of emotional clarity, emotional awareness, and access to regulation strategies, compared to students in the comparison group (outcomes reported 16 weeks after baseline, while controlling for pretest outcome).

Results from quasi-experimental evaluation (published in 2021) supported the effectiveness of Learning to Breathe for high school students. The evaluation included 251 grade 11 students enrolled in suburban schools in the US Northeast (white = 50%, Black = 16%; 23% eligible for FRPL). The study found that students who participated in the program demonstrated significant improvements in executive functioning, specifically decreases in susceptibility to cognitive interference and increases in working memory, compared to students in the control group (outcomes reported 1 month after baseline, after controlling for pretest outcome).

  • Evidence shown in grades
    10, 11, 12
    School characteristics
      • Suburban
      • Northeast
    Student characteristics
    • Black / African American
    • White
    • Low income
    Percentage Low Income
    • Eligible for FRPL: 23%
    Study design type
    • QE
    Greater than 350 students included in study design type
    • No
    Multiple school districts included at study design type
    • Yes
    • Improved academic performance
    • Reduced emotional distress
    • Improved identity development and agency
    • Reduced problem behaviors
    • Improved school climate
    • Improved school connectedness
    • Improved social behaviors
    • Improved teaching practices
    • Improved other SEL skills and attitudes

How does Learning to Breathe support SEL implementation across multiple settings?

“L2B can be a helpful precursor to other SEL programs, forming a web of offerings across the years of schooling. With personal experience of mindfulness, students are more likely to profit from and engage with subsequent SEL and academic curricula. As universal intervention, it provides a shared understanding of mindfulness for the whole school community.”

Get info and pricing on the provider’s website

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  • Other references
  • Bluth, K., Campo, R. A., Pruteanu-Malinici, S., Reams, A., Mullarkey, M., & Broderick, P. C. (2016). A school-based mindfulness pilot study for ethnically diverse at-risk adolescents. Mindfulness, 7(1), 90-104.

  • Broderick, P. C., Frank, J. L., Berrena, E., Schussler, D. L., Kohler, K., Mitra, J., Khan, L., Levitan, J., Mahfouz, J., Shields, L., . . . Greenberg, M. T. (2019). Evaluating the quality of mindfulness instruction delivered in school settings: Development and validation of a teacher quality observational rating scale. Mindfulness, 10(1), 36-45.

  • Broderick, P.C. & Metz, S. (2009). Learning to BREATHE: A Pilot Trial of a Mindfulness Curriculum for Adolescents, Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 2 (1), 35-46.

  • Broderick, P.C., & Jennings, P.A. (2012). Mindfulness for adolescents: a promising approach to supporting emotion regulation and preventing risky behavior. New Directions for Youth Development, 136:111-26.

  • Eva, A. L., & Thayer, N. M. (2017). Learning to BREATHE: A pilot study of a mindfulness-based intervention to support marginalized youth. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 22(4), 580-591.

  • Felver, J., Clawson, A., Morton, M., Brier-Kennedy, Janack, P., et al (2019). School-based mindfulness intervention supports adolescent resiliency: A randomized controlled pilot study. International Journal of School & Educational Psychology 7 (sup1), 111-122.

  • Frank, J. L., Reibel, D., Broderick, P., Cantrell, T., & Metz, S. (2015). The effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction on educator stress and well-being: Results from a pilot study. Mindfulness, 6(2), 208-216.

  • Fung, J., Guo, S., Jin, J., Bear, L., & Lau, A. (2016). A pilot randomized trial evaluating a school-based mindfulness intervention for ethnic minority youth. Mindfulness, 7(4), 819-828.

  • Fung, J., Kim, J. J., Jin, J., Chen, G., Bear, L., & Lau, A. S. (2019). A randomized trial evaluating school-based mindfulness intervention for ethnic minority youth: Exploring mediators and moderators of intervention effects. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 47(1), 1-19.

  • Levitan, J., Schussler, D. L., Mahfouz, J., Frank, J. L., Kohler, K. M., Broderick, P. C., Mitra, J., Oh, Y., Berrena, E., & Greenberg, M. T. (2018). Evaluating Student Cognitive and Social-Emotional Growth During a High School Mindfulness Course Using Mixed-Method Design. Sage Research Methods Cases.

  • Rawlett, K. E., Friedmann, E., & Thomas, S. A. (2019). Mindfulness based intervention with an attentional comparison group in at risk young adolescents: A pilot randomized controlled trial. Integrative Medicine Research, 8(2), 101-106.

  • Schussler, D. L., Oh, Y., Mahfouz, J., Levitan, J., Frank, J. L., Broderick, P. C., & Mitra, J. L. (2021). Stress and well-being: A systematic case study of adolescents’ experiences in a mindfulness-based program. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 30(2), 431-446.

  • Shomaker, L. B., Berman, Z., Burke, M., Annameier, S. K., Pivarunas, B., Sanchez, N., Smith, A. D., Hendrich, S., Riggs, N. R., Legget, K. T., Cornier, M., Melby, C., Johnson, S. A., & Lucas-Thompson, R. (2019). Mindfulness-based group intervention in adolescents at-risk for excess weight gain: A randomized controlled pilot study. Appetite, 140, 213-222.

  • Shomaker, L. B., Bruggink, S., Pivarunas, B., Skoranski, A., Foss, J., Chaffin, E., Dalager, S., Annameier, S., Quaglia, J., Brown, K. W., Broderick, P., & Bell, C. (2017). Pilot randomized controlled trial of a mindfulness-based group intervention in adolescent girls at risk for type 2 diabetes with depressive symptoms. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 32, 66-74.

  • Shomaker, L. B., Pivarunas, B., Annameier, S. K., Gulley, L., Quaglia, J., Brown, K. W., Broderick, P., & Bell, C. (2019). One-Year Follow-Up of a Randomized Controlled Trial Piloting a Mindfulness-Based Group Intervention for Adolescent Insulin Resistance. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1040.

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