Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 236–240 | Cite as

Mindful Parenting and Care Involvement of Fathers of Children with Intellectual Disabilities

  • Elaine E. MacDonald
  • Richard P. Hastings
Original Paper


There are few data addressing psychological variables that may explain some variation in parenting by fathers of children with intellectual disabilities. In the present study, we hypothesized that fathers who were more mindful in their parenting role (specifically, fathers who reported more present-centered attention in their relationship with their child) would use less avoidance in relation to their child with intellectual disability and that this would be reflected in increased father involvement in childcare. In a questionnaire survey 105 fathers completed a mindful parenting measure and a measure of parental involvement. Regression analyses revealed that fathers who reported being more mindful as a parent also reported more involvement in child-related parenting tasks and roles related to child socialization. These data suggest that mindfulness in the parenting role may be an important predictor of parenting in families of children with intellectual disabilities. Therefore, interventions designed to increased mindfulness should improve parent–child relationships and ultimately child outcomes.


Mindful parenting Fathers Parenting Intellectual disability Childcare involvement 


  1. Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Hopkins, J., Krietemeyer, J., & Toney, L. (2006). Using self-report assessment methods to explore facets of mindfulness. Assessment, 13, 27–45. doi: 10.1177/1073191105283504.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Baker, B. L., Landen, S. J., & Kashima, K. J. (1991). Effects of parent training on families of children with mental retardation: Increased burden or generalized benefit? American Journal of Mental Retardation, 96, 127–136.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Blackledge, J. T., & Hayes, S. C. (2006). Using acceptance and commitment training in the support of parents of children diagnosed with autism. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 28, 1–18. doi: 10.1300/J019v28n01_01.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bristol, M. M., Gallagher, J. J., & Schopler, E. (1988). Mothers and fathers of young developmentally disabled and nondisabled boys: Adaptation and spousal support. Developmental Psychology, 24, 441–451. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.24.3.441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bronte-Tinkew, J., Carrano, J., Horowitz, A., & Kimukawa, A. (2008). Involvement among resident fathers and links to infant cognitive outcomes. Journal of Family Issues, 29, 1211–1244. doi: 10.1177/0192513X08318145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Coyne, L. W., & Wilson, K. G. (2004). Cognitive fusion in impaired parenting: An RFT analysis. International Journal of Psychology & Psychological Therapy, 4, 469–486.Google Scholar
  7. Dumas, J. E. (2005). Mindfulness-based parent training: Strategies to lessen the grip of automaticity in families with disruptive children. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34, 779–791. doi: 10.1207/s15374424jccp3404_20.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Duncan, L. G. (2007). Assessment of mindful parenting among parents of early adolescents: Development and validation of the Interpersonal Mindfulness in Parenting Scale. Unpublished dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University.Google Scholar
  9. Duncan, L. G., Coatsworth, J. D., & Greenberg, M. T. (2006, May). Development of a self-report measure of interpersonal mindfulness in parenting for parents of early adolescents. Poster presented at the 14th annual meeting of the Society for Prevention Research, San Antonio, TX.Google Scholar
  10. Durand, V. M. (2007). Positive family intervention: Hope and help for parents with challenging children. Psychology of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, 32(3), 9–13.Google Scholar
  11. Hastings, R. P. (2002a). Do challenging behaviors affect staff psychological well-being?: Issues of causality and mechanism. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 107, 455–467. doi:10.1352/0895-8017(2002)107<0455:DCBASP>2.0.CO;2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Hastings, R. P. (2002b). Parental stress and behaviour problems of children with developmental disability. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 27, 149–160. doi: 10.1080/1366825021000008657.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hastings, R. P., & Beck, A. (2004). Stress intervention for parents of children with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 45, 1338–1349. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00357.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hastings, R. P., Kovshoff, H., Ward, N. J., degli Espinosa, F., Brown, T., & Remington, B. (2005). Systems analysis of stress and positive perceptions in mothers and fathers of pre-school children with Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 35, 635–644. doi: 10.1007/s10803-005-0007-8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Heller, T., Hsieh, K., & Rowitz, L. (1997). Maternal and paternal caregiving of persons with mental retardation across the lifespan. Family Relations, 46, 407–415. doi: 10.2307/585100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lewis, C., & Lamb, M. E. (2003). Fathers’ involvement in children’s development: The evidence from two parent families. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 18, 211–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lloyd, T., & Hastings, R. P. (2008). Psychological variables as correlates of adjustment in mothers of children with intellectual disabilities: Cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 52, 37–48.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. McIntyre, L. L. (2008). Parenting training for young children with developmental disabilities: Randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 113, 356–368. doi: 10.1352/2008.113:356-368.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Mikelson, K. S. (2008). He said, she said: Comparing mother and father reports of father involvement. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 70, 613–624. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2008.00509.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Murrell, A. R., Coyne, L. W., & Wilson, K. G. (2004). ACT with children, adolescents and their parents. In S. C. Hayes & K. D. Strosahl (Eds.), A practical guide to acceptance and commitment therapy (pp. 249–273). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  21. Plant, K. M., & Sanders, M. R. (2007). Reducing problem behavior during caregiving and families of preschool-aged children with developmental disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 28, 362–385. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2006.02.009.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Roach, M. A., Orsmond, G. I., & Barratt, M. S. (1999). Mothers and fathers of children with Down syndrome: Parental stress and involvement in childcare. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 104, 422–436. doi:10.1352/0895-8017(1999)104<0422:MAFOCW>2.0.CO;2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Roberts, C., Mazzucchelli, T., Studman, L., & Sanders, M. R. (2006). Behavioral family intervention for children with developmental disabilities and behavioral problems. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 35, 180–193. doi: 10.1207/s15374424jccp3502_2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Saloviita, T., Italinna, M., & Leinonen, E. (2003). Explaining the parental stress of fathers and mothers caring for a child with intellectual disability: A double ABCX model. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 47, 300–312. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2788.2003.00492.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Simmerman, S., Blacher, J., & Baker, B. (2001). Fathers’ and mothers’ perceptions of father involvement with young children with a disability. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 26, 325–338. doi: 10.1080/13668250120087335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Singer, G. H. S., Ethridge, B. L., & Aldana, S. I. (2007). Primary and secondary effects of parenting and stress management interventions for parents of children with developmental disabilities: A meta-analysis. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 13, 357–367. doi: 10.1002/mrdd.20175.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Singh, N. N., Lancioni, G. E., Winton, A. S., Fisher, B. C., Wahler, R. G., McAleavey, K., et al. (2006). Mindful parenting decreases aggression, noncompliance, and self-injury in children with autism. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 14, 169–177. doi: 10.1177/10634266060140030401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Singh, N. N., Lancioni, G. E., Winton, A. S., Singh, J., Curtis, J. W., Wahler, R. G., et al. (2007). Mindful parenting decreases aggression and increases social behavior in children with developmental disabilities. Behavior Modification, 31, 749–771. doi: 10.1177/0145445507300924.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Sloper, P., Knussen, C., Turner, S., & Cunningham, C. (1991). Factors related to stress and satisfaction with life in families of children with Down syndrome. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 32, 655–676. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.1991.tb00342.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Tiwari, S., Podell, J. C., Martin, E. D., Mychailyszyn, M. P., Furr, J. M., & Kendall, P. C. (2008). Experiential avoidance in the parenting of anxious youth: Theory, research, and future directions. Cognition and Emotion, 22, 480–496. doi: 10.1080/02699930801886599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Willoughby, J. C., & Glidden, L. M. (1995). Fathers helping out: Shared child care and marital satisfaction of parents of children with disabilities. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 99, 399–406.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyBangor UniversityBangor, GwyneddUK

Personalised recommendations