A Pilot Study to Adapt a Trauma-Informed, Mindfulness-Based Yoga Intervention for Justice-Involved Youth

Ashli Owen-Smith, Holle Black, David Emerson, Michaela Cotner, Herschel Smith, Douglas Jackson, Julian D. Ford, Lynn Debar, Ralph Diclemente, Matthew J. Hayat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of the present study was to adapt and pilot a trauma-informed, mindfulness-based yoga (TIMBY) intervention focused on enhancing self-regulation among youth in the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice system. In this article we (1) describe the process by which we systematically adapted an evidence-based protocol specifically for this population, (2) describe the nature of and rationale for those adaptations, (3) present some preliminary qualitative findings based on interviews with youth participants, and (4) briefly summarize how the adapted protocol will be evaluated in the subsequent feasibility trial. The iterative drafting and revision process involved modifications to a well-established, protocolized Trauma-Informed Yoga program and was identified by the project advisory board and t h rough formal interv i ews with intervention staff. Qualitative interviews were conducted with youth participants concerning intervention impact, credibility, and satisfaction. Several needed modifications were identified so that the intervention would be contextually appropriate for justice-involved youth. Thirty youth were enrolled in the pilot study: 77% we re No n-Hispanic Bl a c k / A f r i c a n-American, 18% were Non-Hispanic White, and 5% were Hispanic White. The average age was 16.45 years (range 14–20). The youth consistently reported satisfaction with the sessions and positive beliefs about how the sessions were helping them with a range of physical and psychological/ emotional challenges. Adaptations to the protocol in the present study highlight how mindfulness-based interven- tions for justice-involved youth need to consider what is both developmentally suitable for youth and appropriate in a justice setting. A feasibility study using this revised TIMBY protocol is underway at four Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice facilities to formally identify the barriers and facilitators to implementation for the present study and a future, larger-scale trial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational journal of yoga therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • juvenile justice
  • mindfulness
  • trauma
  • yoga

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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