Mindful Coping Power: Comparative Effects on Children’s Reactive Aggression and Self-Regulation
Coping Power (CP) is an evidence-based preventive intervention for youth with disruptive behavior problems. This study examined whether Mindful Coping Power (MCP), a novel adaptation which integrates mindfulness into CP, enhances program effects on children’s reactive aggression and self-regulation. A pilot randomized design was utilized to estimate the effect sizes for MCP versus CP in a sample of 102 child participants (fifth grade students, predominantly low-middle income, 87% Black). MCP produced significantly greater improvement in children’s self-reported dysregulation (emotional, behavioral, cognitive) than CP, including children’s perceived anger modulation. Small to moderate effects favoring MCP were also observed for improvements in child-reported inhibitory control and breath awareness and parent-reported child attentional capacity and social skills. MCP did not yield a differential effect on teacher-rated reactive aggression. CP produced a stronger effect than MCP on parent-reported externalizing behavior problems. Although MCP did not enhance program effects on children’s reactive aggression as expected, it did have enhancing effects on children’s internal, embodied experiences (self-regulation, anger modulation, breath awareness). Future studies are needed to compare MCP and CP in a large scale, controlled efficacy trial and to examine whether MCP-produced improvements in children’s internal experiences lead to improvements in their observable behavior over time.