We'll be sharing academic research papers proving the effects of kindness programs while we aggregate and analyze study data from our own work, showing how the seeds of kindness spread and grow.
Choose Kindness Foundation Preliminary Findings
Four urban school districts (Arlington and San Antonio in Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) also executed one of CKF's Mindful Kindness Programs.
For the 2021-22 school year, San Antonio decided to use district funds to invest heavily in kindness programs for all its schools.
For the 2022-23 school year, Philadelphia is using district funds to invest heavily in kindness programs for all its schools while San Antonio is doubling the funding for the schools receiving a grant from CKF.
Although pre-and-post-program self reported surveys show that youth say their well-being declined during the 2021-22 school year, a research evaluation found that student perceptions of kindness did not decline. Moreover the leaders of these schools reported that the kindness grants prevented a decline in student kindness, which is particularly important as post-covid stressors were unprecedented, contributing to a more chaotic and uncertain environment that depleted students' coping resources.
A comparison of Philadelphia schools found that students in schools receiving a kindness grant reported less bullying than did students in the control schools.
In an evaluation of the effectiveness of group sessions, low-income youth in the facilitated groups benefited significantly in these ways: more likely to stay in school and a decrease in negative mental habits.
The Mindful Kindness Program executed within the prison system resulted in three inmates with lifetime sentences recruiting 541 other inmates to enroll in the Mindful Kindness Program.
Measuring Kindness at School
This study provides initial evidence of validation for the use of the School Kindness, offering insights into how students perceive varied aspects of kindness within their school setting. This research is in alignment with current thinking in education and psychology that emphasizes the enhancement of positive qualities in students, notably, students’ social–emotional competencies and offers a means by which researchers and educators can access students’ perceptions of kindness in school, offering a platform for classroom and school reform.
Kindness as an Intervention
This study expanded upon the work of Layous et al. (2014), as participants in the intervention group described improved wellbeing, including decreased stress and, in turn, improved mental health. Acts of kindness might also be viewed as beneficence – the ability to give to others – which has been thought to improve wellbeing . This can be explained, in part, by the basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness (i.e., components of the Self-Determination Theory;
Weinstein and Ryan 2010). Martela and Ryan (2016) found that such constructs can explain the wellbeing benefits of beneficence and underscore the role of beneficence as a crucial component of human wellness.
Choose Kindness Foundation Lasting Happiness: Preliminary Pilot Evaluation Summary
The objective of this Choose Kindness Foundation implementation with facilitated groups was to help youths 15-30 years old learn how to cope with stress, anxiety, and other life challenges by employing kind practices and using mindfulness to develop positive relationships that lead to happier, healthier, and more loving lives.
Participants were recruited because they had experienced a significant number of adverse childhood events and were already receiving some services from partnering organizations such as counseling, job support, academic support, and mental health support.
Recruitment information included any risk factors that may put the participants at risk for negative life outcomes such as health problems, incarceration, unemployment, and dysfunctional family life. These risk factors include but are not limited to poverty, trauma, and/or discrimination based on race, gender, sexual preference, and high ACES scores, if those data are available.
To protect participant privacy, the information was provided to the Foundation without names or identifying information.
The program was implemented through ongoing interactive, facilitated group sessions over the course of 15 weeks in the Spring and Summer of 2021.
Participants were asked to complete the Stress Survey and the Satisfaction with Life Survey at the first and the final sessions.
The following graph describes the pre-post change distribution.
For the STRESS measure the mean scores declined, indicating perceptions of less stress.
For the LIFE SATISFACTION measure, the mean score increased, indicating greater satisfaction with life.
An experimental randomized control trial at multiple sites with a delayed treatment is underway in 2022.