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Brummelman et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds. 2013-3698) decided to see if having children reflect on how they are accepted unconditionally by a loved one could attenuate the negative self-feelings in a randomized experiment being published online this week as an early release article.
The authors had pre-teens and teens aged 11-15 years old randomly assigned as an intervention take 15 minutes to reflect on experiences of “unconditional regard”—meaning feelings that they are accepted and valued by others. Those who got low test scores in school three weeks later were then evaluated for their self-feelings. Interestingly, if students had been reflecting on their feelings of “unconditional regard”, their negativity was reduced compared to controls.
Seem too good to be true? You need to read this study and understand why we are publishing it. We hope that others will demonstrate similar findings so that reflection on one’s unconditional regard becomes more embedded into a child’s thought processes and in turn, they are better able to confront adversity and rebound positively.
Even if you don’t believe the findings in this well-done study, give the article your unconditional regard and then let us know your thoughts via a comment on this blog, an eLetter on our journal site, or on Twitter or Facebook.