Abstract: Mindfulness-Enhanced Strengthening Families Program 10-14: Differential Effects and Mediation for Mothers and Fathers (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

585 Mindfulness-Enhanced Strengthening Families Program 10-14: Differential Effects and Mediation for Mothers and Fathers

Friday, May 31, 2019
Marina Room (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Doug Coatsworth, PhD, Director of Prevention Research Center, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Larissa G. Duncan, Ph.D., Elizabeth C. Davies Chair in Child and Family Well-Being and Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Robert L. Nix, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Mark T. Greenberg, PhD, Edna Peterson Bennett Chair; Professor, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Introduction: Mindfulness is an innovative intervention technique for improving parenting skills, enhancing parent-youth relationship quality, and reducing risk for youth problem behaviors. The evidence, however, has been limited primarily to small-scale studies, reporting only on mothers. This presentation describes the theoretical foundations and selects empirical results from the Mindfulness-based Strengthening Families (MSFP 10-14). It addresses the guiding practical and empirical questions of the symposium based on intervention design issues and empirical data from an RCT comparing effects of MSFP 10-14 vs. SFP 10-14 and home study control.

Methods: 432 families of 6th and 7th graders from four communities were randomly assigned to MSFP, SFP or a home study control condition and assessed at baseline, post-intervention and one-year follow-up. Families were primarily European-American (69%) two-parent (66%) with median annual income of $49,000. Fifty-four percent of youth were female; average age was 12.14 (SD = .67). Youth and parents reported on parent mindfulness, parenting practices/child management strategies, and parent-youth relationship quality. Parents reported on parenting stress, parenting self-efficacy and overall well-being.

Results: HLM analyses were used to investigate program effects at post-test and 12-month follow-up. The intervention was conceptualized as enhancing parent-child relationship, reducing parental stress and assisting parents with behavior management. Results from intent to treat analyses indicate significant effects on mindful parenting (ES = .24-.46) support and understanding of their youth (ES = .22) monitoring (ES = .26) and parenting stress (ES = -.33), that differ across time (post-intervention vs. follow-up) and by parent. SEM analyses indicate that changes in mindful parenting are associated with changes in parenting strategies and youth behaviors. Effects of mindful parenting on youth behaviors are partially mediated by positive parenting practices and relationship quality. To address questions of this symposium, we also explore effects by dosage.

Conclusions: Results from one of the few RCTs testing a mindfulness-informed family intervention provides evidence for the efficacy of mindfulness-informed interventions to change parenting practices and parent-youth relationship quality. Results also suggest the benefit of engaging fathers into interventions. We describe how infusing brief, practical mindfulness activities into behaviorally focused parenting interventions may enhance program effects.