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Rueda -

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Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma


Youth living in poverty are more likely to experience cumulative stressors including multiple adverse childhood events. Further, the Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionality affected Hispanic youth and communities, leading to unprecedented levels of trauma. This research responded to a need for a youth resiliency-building program in an urban and impoverished area with a majority Hispanic population. We conducted a formative evaluation of a youth intervention entitled Mind Mat- ters: Overcoming Adversity and Building Resilience, which aims to help youth overcome adversity and to build resilience via psychoeducation and skill development. Just prior to the pandemic in the United States (August-December, 2019), youth (N=12) participated in Mind Matters as part of an after-school program. Immediately following, we utilized focus groups to solicit youth’s perspectives on the acceptability of the program, what they had learned, content areas they liked best, and their recommendations for program improvement. Follow-up phone interviews were also conducted three months later (March 2020) while youth were at home as a result of the pandemic. Youth enjoyed the program and were able to apply skills learned to cope with stress in their daily lives and across ecological contexts. Findings point to the program as particularly well-suited to older adolescents. During the pandemic, most youth continued to utilize self-soothing and mindfulness skills to emotionally self-regulate while facing challenges related to home schooling. Findings highlight the importance of trauma-resiliency programming for youth and offer recommendations to practitioners utilizing the Mind Matters program.


This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at:

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