The first presentation will report results from an RCT of the Mindfulness-based Strengthening Families program versus the original Strengthening Families program with children ages 10-14 and their parents (N=432 families). Accumulating evidence supports the efficacy of mindfulness training for improving parenting and reducing risk for youth problem behaviors. Mindfulness allows parents to use skills more effectively and enhance parent-youth interactions, thereby reducing risk. The evidence, however, is limited to small scale studies, reporting only on mothers. Findings will be reported on mindful parenting, parenting behaviors, parent-youth relationship quality and parent well-being, including differential effects for mothers versus fathers, and moderation (youth gender, baseline problems) and mediation (parental mindfulness) effects.
The second presentation will report on results from a formative study to create the mindful Coping Power program, and multi-rater implementation data from the first cohort of a pilot RCT (N=48). The study integrated mindfulness into an evidence-based indicated prevention program, Coping Power (CP). CP is effective in reducing externalizing behavior, proactive aggression, and substance use. However, it has not produced significant reductions in reactive aggression (RA), aggressive behaviors characterized by impulsivity, low frustration, and emotional dysregulation. The study adapted CP by integrating it with mindfulness, and is testing its feasibility and acceptability with children who have high levels of RA.
The third presentation will report results from a quasi-experimental study with pregnant women receiving Medicaid, comparing standard and mindfulness-enhanced Centering Pregnancy (N=49). The study integrated mindfulness strategies tailored for pregnancy and childbirth preparation into Centering Pregnancy, an existing model of group prenatal healthcare that reduces risk of preterm birth and is widely disseminated. Maternal anxiety in the prenatal period poses significant developmental risks for children. Treating anxiety and other mental health problems in pregnancy poses special challenges (e.g. medication side effects). Mindfulness avoids these limitations and is now established as an evidence-based approach for treating anxiety and mental health problems.
A discussant will synthesize findings across studies, and identify directions for future research.