U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Additive Effectiveness of Mindfulness Meditation to a School-Based Brief Cognitive–Behavioral Alcohol Intervention for Adolescents

NCJ Number
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology Volume: 87 Issue: 5 Dated: 2019 Pages: 407-421
Date Published
15 pages

This study examined the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation as a school-based alcohol intervention.


This study of mindfulness meditation as a school-based cognitive behavioral therapeutic (CBT) intervention found no evidence of mindfulness-specific effects beyond existing effects of CBT within a brief universal school-based CBT intervention. This study supports targeting cognitive risk factors for adolescent alcohol use through cognitive–behavioral therapy to reduce the growth of alcohol consumption in adolescents. The addition of mindfulness meditation to existing cognitive−behavioral therapy did not improve alcohol use outcomes when compared to an active control. There was no effect of interventions on mindfulness, drinking refusal self-efficacy, or impulsivity. This randomized controlled trial is the 1st study to evaluate the additive efficacy of mindfulness meditation to brief school-based universal cognitive behavior therapy (CBT + MM) for adolescent alcohol consumption. The study compared a CBT + MM condition to an active control CBT intervention with progressive muscle relaxation (CBT + PMR) for nonspecific effects and an assessment-only control (AoC). Cluster sampling was used to recruit Australian adolescents ages 13–17 years of mostly Australian−New Zealand or European descent. School classes were randomized to 3 intervention conditions (CBT + PMR = 8 classes, CBT + MM = 7 classes, AoC = 7 classes), and adolescents completed preintervention, postintervention, and 3- and 6-month follow-up assessments, including measures of alcohol consumption, mindfulness, impulsivity, and the alcohol-related cognitions of alcohol expectancies and drinking refusal self-efficacy. Multilevel modeling analyses revealed that both intervention conditions reduced the growth of alcohol consumption compared to the AoC, although CBT + MM was no more effective than CBT + PMR. Negative alcohol expectancies increased for adolescents in the intervention conditions compared to the AoC, as did positive alcohol expectancies. Hypothesized mechanisms of change were largely unsupported. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2019