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This paper provides a framework for understanding why, when and how to adapt mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) to specific populations and contexts, based on research that developed and adapted multiple MBPs. In doing so, we hope to support teachers, researchers and innovators who are considering adapting an MBP to ensure that changes made are necessary, acceptable, effective, cost-effective, and implementable. Specific questions for reflection are provided such as (1) Why is an adaptation needed? (2) Does the theoretical premise underpinning mainstream MBPs extend to the population you are considering? (3) Do the benefits of the proposed adaptation outweigh the time and costs involved to all in research and implementation? (4) Is there already an evidenced-based approach to address this issue in the population or context? Fundamental knowledge that is important for the adaptation team to have includes the following: (1) essential ingredients of MBPs, (2) etiology of the target health outcome, (3) existing interventions that work for the health outcome, population, and context, (4) delivery systems and settings, and (5) culture, values, and communication patterns of the target population. A series of steps to follow for adaptations is provided, as are case examples. Adapting MBPs happens not only by researchers, but also by MBP teachers and developers, who endeavor to best serve the populations and contexts they work within. We hope that these recommendations for best practice provide a practical framework for skilfully understanding why, when, and how to adapt MBPs; and that this careful approach to adaptation maximizes MBP safety and efficacy.

Original publication




Journal article


Global Advances in Health and Medicine


SAGE Publications

Publication Date





216495612110688 - 216495612110688