The Youth Mindful Awareness Program


The Youth Mindful Awareness Program (YMAP) study is designed to examine how a remotely-delivered 9-week mindfulness program affects teens’ moods. There are two parts to the mindfulness program–coaching sessions and mindfulness practice (see Treatment Procedures below). The ideas and mindfulness practices in the program focus on things like being more aware of ourselves in the present moment, finding ways to create “balance” if we’re feeling stressed, and being kinder to, and more accepting of, ourselves. Half of the teens who participate in the full study will work with a coach and complete the mindfulness program during the study. The other half will be given access to a self-guided version of the program after the assessments for the study are completed.
If you are interested in participating or interested in having your teenager participate, please click here to learn more about the program or click here to complete an interest form.

Eligibility Criteria

Participants in this program must be between the ages of 12 and 17. Participants must also live in one of the states in which we have participating universities: California, Illinois, or Tennessee. Teens who enroll in the study must speak and read English (at least at a 4th grade level), although parent consent forms and parent surveys are available in Spanish for California residents. These are the eligibility criteria for enrolling; after signing up, the baseline assessments described below will help us determine if the full study would be a good fit for each teen.

Screening Procedures and Baseline Assessments

All parts of the study are conducted remotely, using phone calls, Zoom meetings, and internet-based surveys. If you wish to enroll your teen in YMAP, a researcher will set up a phone call with you to review the consent form and ask a few questions about health and education. The baseline (or pre-program) assessments include several steps: (1) a brief (~5 min) survey, (2) a longer survey and interview over Zoom, (3) a series of short surveys texted 4 times per day over five days, called Mini Mood Logs and (4) a final set of online tasks and parent survey. Each of these steps will help our research team determine whether the full study is a good fit for your teen.

Program and Study Procedures

Teens who are invited to continue with the full study will have a 50-50 chance of participating in YMAP during the study. Those who do will be paired up with a mindfulness coach with whom they will meet weekly, for 30-45 minutes per session, for 9 weeks. Each week, the coach will review ideas related to awareness in the present moment, creating balance in our minds and bodies, and being kind toward ourselves and others, and will introduce mindfulness concepts related to those ideas. Teens will be asked to practice for 5-15 minutes per day between sessions, using mindfulness exercises that can be accessed on a phone, computer, or tablet.
Teens who participate in the full study but are not asked to complete YMAP with a coach during the study will be given access to the mindfulness practices after completing the final assessments. They will also be provided with a written version of the information that coaches go over and guidelines on how to navigate the program independently.
Both groups of teens will be asked to complete brief (~5 min) weekly surveys for 9 weeks after completing the baseline assessments. Following that, they will complete a set of post-program assessments similar to the baseline. This includes a survey, an interview, a set of online tasks, and a second round of Mini Mood Logs, as well as a parent survey.

Payment and Fees

There are no fees for the assessments or program. Because the program is delivered remotely, there are no costs associated with travel. Teens may be compensated up to $300 for participation in the study. Compensation is based on completion of assessments. Parents may also be compensated up to $20–$10 for completing each of the two parent surveys. Compensation is in the form of electronic gift cards.

Contact Information

For further information about this project, contact:
Jessie Allenbach
You can also visit our website for more information or to fill out an interest form:

Principal Investigators and IRB Approval

UCLA Principal Investigators: Michelle Craske, PhD, and Denise Chavira, PhD. This study is conducted in collaboration with Judy Garber, PhD, at Vanderbilt University (lead Principal Investigator), and with Emma Adam, PhD, and Richard Zinbarg, PhD, at Northwestern University.
UCLA IRB has approved reliance on Vanderbilt University’s IRB for primary oversight.
UCLA IRB: #21-000502
UCLA IRB Reliance Approval date: 5/13/2021
VU IRB: #202263
VU IRB Approval date: 2/16/2021 Through: 2/1/2023