Is Mindful Parenting Associated with Adolescents’ Well-being in Early and Middle/Late Adolescence? The Mediating Role of Adolescents’ Attachment Representations, Self-Compassion and Mindfulness
There is some evidence that mindful parenting, a parenting approach that involves the practice of bringing mindful awareness to the parent-child relationship, is associated with several positive psychosocial outcomes in adolescents. However, only a few studies have investigated the mechanisms that may underlie that association. This study explores whether the link between mindful parenting and adolescents’ well-being is mediated by adolescents’ attachment representations, self-compassion and mindfulness skills. The sample comprised 563 parent-child dyads (95.6% mothers). Adolescents (61.5% girls) had a mean age of 14.26 years (SD = 1.66, range = 12–20). Parents completed a measure of mindful parenting, and adolescents completed measures of attachment representations, self-compassion, mindfulness, and well-being. Mindful parenting was indirectly associated with adolescents’ self-compassion and mindfulness through a more secure perception of the relationship with the parents, and was indirectly associated with adolescents’ well-being through perceived attachment security, self-compassion and mindfulness. The path model was invariant across stages of adolescence but some relations in the model varied across gender. Self-compassion and mindfulness seem to develop within a parent-child relationship characterized by affection, self-regulation, and mindful awareness. These two resources, along with mindful parenting and positive representations of the parent-child relationship, are associated with adolescents’ well-being.
KeywordsMindful parenting Attachment representations Self-compassion Mindfulness Well-being Adolescence
H.M. conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, performed the statistical analysis, and wrote the manuscript; M.J.G. participated in the data collection and interpretation of the data; M.C.C. revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
This work was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology under Grant SFRH/BPD/70063/2010.
Data Sharing Declaration
This manuscript’s data will not be deposited.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants (parents) included in the study. Informal assent was obtained from adolescents.
- Bögels, S., Hellemans, J., van Deursen, S., Römer, M., & van der Meulen, R. (2014). Mindful parenting in mental health care: Effects on parental and child psychopathology, parental stress, parenting, coparenting, and marital functioning. Mindfulness, 5(5), 536–551. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-013-0209-7.Google Scholar
- Costello, E. J., Copeland, W., & Angold, A. (2011). Trends in psychopathology across the adolescent years: What changes when children become adolescents, and when adolescents become adults? Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 52(10), 1015–1025. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2011.02446.x.Google Scholar
- de Bruin, E. I., Zijlstra, B. J. H., & Bögels, S. M. (2014a). The meaning of mindfulness in children and adolescents: Further validation of the Child and Adolescent Mindfulness Measure (CAMM) in two Independent samples from The Netherlands. Mindfulness, 5(4), 422–430. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-013-0196-8.Google Scholar
- de Bruin, E. I., Zijlstra, B. J. H., Geurtzen, N., van Zundert, R. M. P., van de Weijer-Bergsma, E., & Hartman, E. E., et al. (2014b). Mindful parenting assessed further: Psychometric properties of the Dutch version of the Interpersonal Mindfulness in Parenting scale (IM-P). Mindfulness, 5(2), 200–212. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-012-0168-4.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Duncan, L. (2007). Assessment of mindful parenting among parents of early adolescents: Development and validation of the Interpersonal Mindfulness in Parenting Scale. State College, PA: The Pennsylvania State University. Unpublished doctoral dissertation.Google Scholar
- Geurtzen, N., Scholte, R. J., Engels, R. M. E., Tak, Y., & van Zundert, R. P. (2015). Association between mindful parenting and adolescents’ internalizing problems: Non-judgmental acceptance of parenting as core element. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(4), 1117–1128. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-014-9920-9.Google Scholar
- Gilbert, P. (2005). Compassion and cruelty: A biopsychosocial approach. In P. Gilbert (Ed.), Compassion: Conceptualisations, research and use in psychotherapy (pp. 3–74). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Gilbert, P. (2010). Compassion focused therapy. Hove, East Sussex: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Hoffmann, M. L., Powlishta, K. K., & White, K. J. (2004). An examination of gender differences in adolescent adjustment: The effect of competence on gender role differences in symptoms of psychopathology. Sex Roles, 50(11/12), 795–810. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:SERS.0000029098.38706.b1.Google Scholar
- Kabat-Zinn, J., & Kabat-Zinn, M. (1997). Everyday blessings: The inner work of mindful parenting. New York, NY: Hyperion.Google Scholar
- Medeiros, C., Gouveia, M. J., Canavarro, M. C., & Moreira, H. (2016). The indirect effect of the mindful parenting of mothers and fathers on the child’s perceived well-being through the child’s attachment to parents. Mindfulness, 7(4), 916–927. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0530-z.Google Scholar
- Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2007). Attachment in adulthood: Structure, dynamics, and change. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Moreira, H., Carona, C., Silva, N., Nunes, J., & Canavarro, M. C. (2016). Exploring the link between maternal attachment-related anxiety and avoidance and mindful parenting: The mediating role of self-compassion. Psychology and Psychotherapy, 89(4), 369–384. https://doi.org/10.1111/papt.12082.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Moreira, H., Fonseca, A., & Canavarro, M. C. (2017). Assessing attachment to parents and peers in middle childhood: Psychometric studies of the Portuguese version of the People in My Life Questionnaire. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26(5), 1318–1333. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-017-0654-3.Google Scholar
- Moreira, H., Gouveia, M. J., Carona, C., Silva, N., & Canavarro, M. C. (2015). Maternal attachment and children’s quality of life: The mediating role of self-compassion and parenting stress. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(8), 2332–2344. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-014-0036-z.Google Scholar
- Muris, P., Meesters, C., Pierik, A., & de Kock, B. (2016). Good for the self: Self-compassion and other self-related constructs in relation to symptoms of anxiety and depression in non-clinicaly youths. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25(2), 607–617. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-015-0235-2.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Neff, K. (2009). Self-compassion. In M. R. Leary & R. H. Hoyle (Eds.), Handbook of individual differences in social behavior (pp. 561–573). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Parent, J., McKee, L., Rough, J., & Forehand, R. (2016). The association of parent mindfulness with parenting and youth psychopathology across three developmental stages. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 44(1), 191–202. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-015-9978-x.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Ravens-Sieberer, U., Erhart, M., Rajmil, L., Herdman, M., Auquier, P., & Bruil, J., et al. (2010). Reliability, construct and criterion validity of the KIDSCREEN-10 score: A short measure for children and adolescents’ well-being and health-related quality of life. Quality of Life Research, 19(10), 1487–1500. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11136-010-9706-5.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Rood, L., Roelofs, J., Bögels, S. M., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Schouten, E. (2009). The influence of emotion-focused rumination and distraction on depressive symptoms in non-clinical youth: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 29(7), 607–616. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2009.07.001.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Shaver, P. R., Mikulincer, M., Sahdra, B., & Gross, J. (2017). Attachment security as a foundation for kindness toward self and others. In K. W. Brown & M. R. Leary (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of hypo-egoic phenomena. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Spano, S. (2004). Stages of adolescent development. Retrivered from the ACT for Youth Upstate Center of Excellence website: http://www.actforyouth.net/resources/rf/rf_stages_0504.pdf
- Tabachnick, B., & Fidell, L. (2013). Using multivariate statistics. Boston, MA: Pearson.Google Scholar