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Neurobiology of Trauma and Mindfulness for Children

Iacona, Jaclyn, MSN, BS, RN; Johnson, Stephanie, MSN, RN

doi: 10.1097/JTN.0000000000000365

Adverse child experiences (ACEs) have a significant impact on developing children, both physically and psychologically, with ongoing consequences that may manifest throughout adulthood. These negative health consequences can be mitigated if a child is given a supportive environment in which to develop healthy coping mechanisms. Those who specialize in caring for children with ACEs must understand the neurobiology of trauma to conceptualize how trauma triggers the brain and body when encountering stressful events. Mindfulness is an evidence-based practice that can be used as a healthy coping mechanism to develop self-regulation and resiliency in children. The purpose of this article is to provide evidenced-based research on the neurobiology of trauma and mindfulness intervention as a recommended modality for use in children. Furthermore, the content in this article was utilized in developing a training module for a suburban, youth organization that provides residential housing, basic necessities, education, and therapy for children with ACEs. The training module is intended to assist staff members in understanding the neurobiology of trauma and mindfulness techniques in their interactions with the children, thereby improving child–staff relationships and encouraging the development of self-regulation and healthy coping mechanisms.

School of Nursing, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan.

Correspondence: Jaclyn Iacona, MSN, BS, RN, School of Nursing, Oakland University, 318 Meadow Brook Rd, Rochester, MI 48309 (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2018 by the Society of Trauma Nurses.