Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 24, Issue 8, pp 2332–2344 | Cite as

Maternal Attachment and Children’s Quality of Life: The Mediating Role of Self-compassion and Parenting Stress

  • Helena Moreira
  • Maria João Gouveia
  • Carlos Carona
  • Neuza Silva
  • Maria Cristina Canavarro
Original Paper


The stress parents feel in their parenting roles and the ways they relate to themselves in difficult or distressing situations, such as with self-compassion, are influenced by their attachment orientations and may account for the well-known association between the quality of parents’ attachment to their own parents and their children’s developmental outcomes. We explored the association between self-compassion and parenting stress and their mediating role in the link between mothers’ attachment orientations and children’s quality of life (QoL). A total of 171 family dyads composed of a child/adolescent aged 8–18 years and the child’s mother participated in the study. Mothers completed self-report measures of attachment toward their own mother (ECR-RS), self-compassion (SELFCS), and parenting stress (PSI). The children completed a measure of QoL (KIDSCREEN-10). The current study showed that mothers’ attachment to their own mother was indirectly associated with their child’s QoL through self-compassion and parenting stress. Specifically, higher levels of attachment-related anxiety and avoidance among mothers toward their own mother were associated with worse children’s QoL through lower levels of mothers’ self-compassion and higher levels of parenting stress. These results reveal an important pathway linking mothers’ attachment to their child’s QoL and underline the importance of designing parenting programs aimed at reducing parenting stress that simultaneously help parents to become more compassionate toward themselves.


Attachment Parenting stress Self-compassion Children’s quality of life Parenting 



This work was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology under Grant [SFRH/BPD/70063/2010].


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helena Moreira
    • 1
  • Maria João Gouveia
    • 1
  • Carlos Carona
    • 1
    • 2
  • Neuza Silva
    • 1
  • Maria Cristina Canavarro
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Cognitive-Behavioral Research Centre (CINEICC)University of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.Coimbra Cerebral Palsy AssociationCoimbraPortugal

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