Impact of Arts and Mindfulness-based Interventions on the Social-Emotional Development of Vulnerable Youth

Research | Writing

During my Master's in Educational Psychology, I focused my studies on the impact of social-emotional learning on youth. More specifically, I was interested in arts-based and mindfulness-based interventions for vulnerable young populations living in poverty and violence. This interest stemmed from my own experiences teaching art classes to youth who lived in the poorest neighborhoods of Washington, DC. Through my teaching, I saw the alignment and similarities between the processes of art-making, mindfulness, and social-emotional learning.


Working with Dr. Kimberly Sheridan as my advisor, I reviewed, coded, and synthesized a total of 132 academic articles on literature about students who experienced risk factors and participated in an arts-based or mindfulness-based intervention, curricula, or program. Focusing on the social-emotional learning outcomes and curriculum design, I reviewed articles on arts-based programs that offered a variety of modalities for youth to express themselves such as dance, theatre, visual arts, digital media and music as well as mindfulness-based interventions that provided interventions using meditation, yoga, and qigong. I also reviewed programs that integrate both mindfulness and arts into their curriculum. 


In my capstone, I discuss how the outcomes of these interventions demonstrate central principles of learning and motivation such as theories on flow, self-determination, and self-efficacy. I also write about the implications for the content and design of youth development programs that use arts-based and mindfulness practices as a vehicle for social-emotional learning. You can read my capstone by clicking on the image below.

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