Advertisement

Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 298–308 | Cite as

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Parents and Caregivers of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities: A Community-Based Approach

  • Alicia Bazzano
  • Christiane Wolfe
  • Lidia Zylowska
  • Steven Wang
  • Erica Schuster
  • Christopher Barrett
  • Danise Lehrer
Original Paper

Abstract

Stress among parents and other primary caregivers of children with developmental disabilities is pervasive and linked to lower quality of life, unhealthy family functioning, and negative psychological consequences. However, few programs address the needs of parents or caregivers of children with developmental disabilities. A mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program is a well-suited approach for these parents and caregivers, who may be overwhelmed by their children’s situation, anticipating future challenges and reliving past traumas. We aimed to develop, implement, and evaluate the feasibility of an MBSR program designed for this population in a community-based participatory setting. Parents and caregivers were equal partners with researchers in curriculum development, recruitment, implementation and evaluation. Two concurrent classes, morning and evening, were conducted weekly in English with simultaneous Spanish translation over 8-weeks. Classes consisted of meditation practice, supported discussion of stressors affecting parents/caregivers, and gentle stretching. Of 76 participants recruited, 66 (87 %) completed the program. All participants experienced a significant reduction (33 %) in perceived stress (p < 0.001) and parents (n = 59) experienced a 22 % reduction (p < 0.001) in parental stress. Parents/caregivers also reported significantly increased mindfulness, self-compassion, and well-being (p < 0.05). Participants continued to report significant reduction in stress 2 months after the program. Our study suggests that a community-based MBSR program can be an effective intervention to reduce stress and improve psychological well-being for parents and caregivers of children with developmental disabilities. Additional research should assess the effect of cultural or socioeconomic factors on the outcomes of the intervention and further expand MBSR programs to include community-based participatory settings.

Keywords

Mindfulness Caregivers Parents Developmental disabilities Community-based participatory research 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank the Robert Ellis Simon Foundation and the Achievable Foundation for generously supporting this project. We are grateful to all of the leadership and staff at Westside Regional Center and the Westside Family Resource and Empowerment Center for their time and energy on this project and, most importantly, the program participants and their families.

References

  1. Allik, H., Larsson, J. O., & Smedje, H. (2006). Health-related quality of life in parents of school-age children with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 4(1), 1–8.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berge, J. M., Mendenhall, T. J., & Doherty, W. J. (2009). Using community-based participatory research (CBPR) to target health disparities in families. Family Relations, 58(4), 475–488.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berry, J. O., & Jones, W. H. (1995). The parental stress scale: Initial psychometric evidence. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 12(3), 463–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(4), 822.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carmody, J., & Baer, R. A. (2008). Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 31(1), 23–33.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., & Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of health and social behavior, 385–396.Google Scholar
  7. Dobkin, P. L. (2008). Mindfulness-based stress reduction: What processes are at work? Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 14(1), 8–16.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Doherty, W. J., & Mendenhall, T. J. (2006). Citizen health care: A model for engaging patients, families, and communities as coproducers of health. Families, Systems, & Health, 24(3), 251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Duncan, L. G., Coatsworth, J. D., & Greenberg, M. T. (2009). A model of mindful parenting: Implications for parent–child relationships and prevention research. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 12(3), 255–270.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dyson, L. L. (1997). Fathers and mothers of school-age children with developmental disabilities: Parental stress, family functioning, and social support. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 102(3), 267–279.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Emerson, E. (2003). Mothers of children and adolescents with intellectual disability: Social and economic situation, mental health status, and the self-assessed social and psychological impact of the child’s difficulties. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 47(4–5), 385–399.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Frey, K. S., Greenberg, M. T., & Fewell, R. R. (1989). Stress and coping among parents of handicapped children: A multidimensional approach. American Journal on Mental Retardation; American Journal on Mental Retardation.Google Scholar
  13. Hedov, G., Annerén, G., & Wikblad, K. (2000). Self-perceived health in Swedish parents of children with Down’s syndrome. Quality of Life Research, 9(4), 415–422.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Israel, B. A., Eng, E., Schulz, A. J., & Parker, E. A. (2005). Methods in community-based participatory research for health. Methods in community-based participatory research for health.Google Scholar
  15. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1982). An outpatient program in behavioral medicine for chronic pain patients based on the practice of mindfulness meditation: Theoretical considerations and preliminary results. General Hospital Psychiatry, 4(1), 33–47.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. Delta.Google Scholar
  17. Kabat-Zinn, J., Lipworth, L., & Burney, R. (1985). The clinical use of mindfulness meditation for the self-regulation of chronic pain. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 8(2), 163–190.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kabat-Zinn, J., Massion, A. O., Kristeller, J., Peterson, L. G., Fletcher, K. E., & Pbert, L. (1992). Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 149(7), 936.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Leonard, B. J., Johnson, A. L., & Brust, J. D. (1993). Caregivers of children with disabilities: A comparison of those managing “OK” and those needing more help. Children’s Health Care, 22(2), 93–105.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McKinney, B., & Peterson, R. A. (1987). Predictors of stress in parents of developmentally disabled children. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 12(1), 133–150.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Minkler, M., & Wallerstein, N. (2003). Introduction to community based participatory research. Community-based participatory research for health, 3–26.Google Scholar
  22. Mugno, D., Ruta, L., D’Arrigo, V. G., & Mazzone, L. (2007). Impairment of quality of life in parents of children and adolescents with pervasive developmental disorder. Health Qual Life Outcomes, 5, 22.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Neff, K. (2003a). The development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion. Self and Identity, 2(3), 223–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Neff, K. (2003b). Self-compassion: An alternative conceptualization of a healthy attitude toward oneself. Self and Identity, 2(2), 85–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nyklicek, I., & Kuijpers, K. F. (2008). Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention on psychological well-being and quality of life: Is increased mindfulness indeed the mechanism? Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 35(3), 331–340.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Oman, D., Shapiro, S. L., Thoresen, C. E., Plante, T. G., & Flinders, T. (2008). Meditation lowers stress and supports forgiveness among college students: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of American College Health, 56(5), 569–578.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pradhan, E. K., Baumgarten, M., Langenberg, P., Handwerger, B., Gilpin, A. K., & Magyari, T. (2007). Effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Arthritis Care & Research, 57(7), 1134–1142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Raina, P., O’Donnell, M., Schwellnus, H., Rosenbaum, P., King, G., & Brehaut, J. (2004). Caregiving process and caregiver burden: Conceptual models to guide research and practice. BMC Pediatrics, 4(1), 1.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rubin, I. L., & Crocker, A. C. (Eds.). (2006). Medical care for children & adults with developmental disabilities. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.Google Scholar
  30. Ryff, C. D., & Keyes, C. L. M. (1995). The structure of psychological well-being revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(4), 719.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schieve, L. A., Blumberg, S. J., Rice, C., Visser, S. N., & Boyle, C. (2007). The relationship between autism and parenting stress. Pediatrics, 119(Supplement 1), S114–S121.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sephton, S. E., Salmon, P., Weissbecker, I., Ulmer, C., Floyd, A., Hoover, K., et al. (2007). Mindfulness meditation alleviates depressive symptoms in women with fibromyalgia: Results of a randomized clinical trial. Arthritis Care & Research, 57(1), 77–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Shapiro, S. L., Astin, J. A., Bishop, S. R., & Cordova, M. (2005). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for health care professionals: Results from a randomized trial. International Journal of Stress Management, 12(2), 164–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Singh, N. N., Lancioni, G. E., Winton, A. S., Singh, J., Curtis, W. J., Wahler, R. G., et al. (2007). Mindful parenting decreases aggression and increases social behavior in children with developmental disabilities. Behavior Modification, 31(6), 749–771.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Smith, B. W., Shelley, B. M., Dalen, J., Wiggins, K., Tooley, E., & Bernard, J. (2008). A pilot study comparing the effects of mindfulness-based and cognitive-behavioral stress reduction. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14(3), 251–258.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alicia Bazzano
    • 1
  • Christiane Wolfe
    • 2
  • Lidia Zylowska
    • 3
  • Steven Wang
    • 4
  • Erica Schuster
    • 4
  • Christopher Barrett
    • 4
  • Danise Lehrer
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsDavid Geffen School of Medicine at UCLALos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Insight LALos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.University of California, Santa CruzSanta CruzUSA
  4. 4.Westside Regional CenterCulver CityUSA

Personalised recommendations