Abstract: Mindfulness Intervention for Parents of Young Children: Effects on Parenting, Stress and Well-Being (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

250 Mindfulness Intervention for Parents of Young Children: Effects on Parenting, Stress and Well-Being

Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Erin T. Mathis, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, DC
Janaire T. Hawkins, BS, Program Coordinator, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC
Dominique Charlot-Swilley, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, Children's National Health System, Washington, DC
Kaira Jewel Lingo, . . ., Mindfulness Facilitator, Minds Incorporated, Washington, DC
Travis Spencer, MA, Mindfulness Facilitator, Minds Incorporated, Washington, DC
Dave Trachtenberg, . . ., Mindfulness Facilitator, Minds Incorporated, Washington, DC
Satyani McPherson, . . ., Mindfulness Facilitator, Minds Incorporated, Washington, DC
Celene Domitrovich, PhD, Associate Professor, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Matthew Biel, MD, Associate Professor, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC
OBJECTIVES: Mindfulness is bringing one’s attention to the present moment and observing and accepting one’s thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and external events without judgment or reaction. Mindfulness-based clinical interventions have demonstrated significant positive impact for a range of conditions, including depression, anxiety, and addiction. An increasingly promising approach is to expand the principles of mindfulness to the challenges of parenting. Families experiencing poverty or toxic stress are at greater risk for mental and physical health problems. When parents experience toxic stress, these experiences can also increase risk of mental health problems in children and contribute to multi-generational stress related symptoms and side effects. Mindful practice cultivates patience, compassion, attentiveness, and improves capacity to observe emotions without judgement or reactivity. These skills are relevant for enhancing parental responsiveness and attunement. The present study considers 4 cohorts of mindfulness-based intervention groups for parents living in marginalized communities and whose children attend an early education center in Washington, DC.

METHODS: Participants (n=33) attended a 60-90 minute, weekly mindful parenting sessions for eight weeks. Participants ranged in age from 19 to 55 years (M=32.2; 82% African American, 13% Multiracial; 85% Female; 85% income below $50,000) and had children between 0-5 years. Data was collected at two time points (pre-intervention and post-intervention) on parenting, stress and well-being/mental health symptoms.

RESULTS: On average, participants experienced a significant decrease in parental distress, t(32)=2.65, p=.01, d=.33, total parenting stress, t(32)=2.03, p=.05, d=.26, sleep disturbance, t(32)=3.00, p=.01, d=.50, negative affect, t(32)=2.31, p=.03, d=.49, depression symptoms, t(32)=3.72, p=.00, d=.64, anxiety symptoms, t(32)=2.46, p=.02, d=.55 and traumatic stress symptoms, t(32)=2.55, p=.02, d=.57. In addition, participants experienced a significant increase in mindful discipline, t(32)=-2.17, p=.04, d=.21, parenting support, t(32)=-2.86, p=.01, d=.44, and positive affect, t(32)=-2.08, p=.05, d=.28.

CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate promising potential effects of mindful parenting intervention in improving parental mental health and wellbeing and parent-child relationship quality. Findings support the application and feasibility of conducting mindful parenting groups with families experiencing poverty and stress. Additional findings from our fifth and sixth mindful parenting group will be available at time of conference to further replicate these findings.

Kaira Jewel Lingo
Minds Incorporated: Honorarium/Consulting Fees

Travis Spencer
Minds Incorporated: Honorarium/Consulting Fees

Dave Trachtenberg
Minds Incorporated: Honorarium/Consulting Fees

Satyani McPherson
Minds Incorporated: Honorarium/Consulting Fees