Increasing evidence supports the relevance of mindfulness in parenting. We analyzed the relation between mindfulness and parenting variables in mothers that were not practicing meditation. Sixty-two mothers of preschool children completed self-report questionnaires that measured mindfulness, mindful parenting, and relevant mother’s variables: parental stress, general stress, anxiety, and depression. As hypothesized, there was a significant positive correlation between mindfulness and mindful parenting, and a significant negative correlation among mindfulness and parental stress, depression, anxiety, and general stress. There was also a significant negative correlation between mindful parenting and parental stress, depression, and general stress, but not anxiety. Mindfulness was more strongly and consistently related to more general aspects of mother’s mental health, while mindful parenting more strongly and consistently related to aspects of stress specific to their role as a mother, parent–child interactions and perceptions about their child. Through multiple regressions, we also explored which aspects of mindfulness and mindful parenting would predict lower levels of parental stress, depression, anxiety, and general stress. Mindful abilities of being non-judgmental about herself as a person and as a mother appeared as main predictive variables. These results suggest interventions that aim to reduce mothers’ levels of depressive, anxious and stress-related symptoms (general and specific to parenting) should focus on cultivating acceptance and non-judgment of experiences during daily activities, and specifically during mother–child interactions.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Abidin, R. R. (1995). Parenting stress index: Professional manual (3rd ed.). Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.
Altmaier, E., & Maloney, R. (2007). An initial evaluation of a mindful parenting program. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 63(12), 1231–1238.
Antúnez, Z., & Vinet, E. (2012). Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21): Validation of the abbreviated version in Chilean university students. Terapia Psicológica, 30(3), 49–55.
Baer, R. A. (2003). Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: A conceptual and empirical review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10, 351–366.
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.
Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Lykins, E., Button, D., Krietemeyer, J., Sauer, S., & Williams, J. (2008). Construct validity of the five facet mindfulness questionnaire in meditating and non-meditating samples. Assessment, 15, 329–342.
Belsky, J. (1984). The determinants of parenting: A process model. Child Development, 55, 83–96.
Bishop, S. R., Lau, M., Shapiro, S., Carlson, L., Anderson, N. D., Carmody, J., & Devins, G. (2004). Mindfulness: A proposed operational definition. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11, 230–241.
Bluth, C., & Wahler, R. (2011). Parenting preschoolers: Can mindfulness help? Mindfulness, 2(4), 282–285.
Bögels, M., Hellemans, J., van Deursen, S., Römer, M., & van der Meulen, R. (2013). Mindful parenting in mental health care: Effects on parental and child psychopathology, parental stress, parenting, co-parenting and marital functioning. Mindfulness, 5, 536–551.
Bögels, S., Hoogstad, B., van Dun, L., Schutter, S., & Restifo, K. (2008). Mindfulness training for adolescents with externalizing disorders and their parents. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 36, 193–209.
Bonds, D. D., Gondoli, D. M., Sturge-Apple, M. L., & Salem, L. N. (2002). Parenting stress as a mediator of the relation between parenting support and optimal parenting. Parenting Science and Practice, 2(4), 409–435.
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, 822–848.
Brown, K. W., Ryan, R. M., & Creswell, J. D. (2007a). Addressing fundamental questions about mindfulness. Psychological Inquiry, 18(4), 272–281.
Brown, K. W., Ryan, R. M., & Creswell, J. D. (2007b). Mindfulness: Theoretical foundations and evidence for its salutary effects. Psychological Inquiry, 18, 1–26.
Cardaciotto, L., Herbert, J. D., Forman, E. M., Moitra, E., & Farrow, V. (2008). The assessment of present-moment awareness and acceptance. The Philadelphia mindfulness scale. Assessment, 15, 204–223.
Cash, M., & Whittingham, K. (2010). What facets of mindfulness contribute to psychological well-being and depressive, anxious and stress-related symptomatology? Mindfulness, 1, 177–182.
Coatsworth, J. D., Duncan, L. G., Greenberg, M. T., & Nix, R. L. (2010). Changing parent’s mindfulness, child management skills and relationship quality with their youth: Results from a randomized pilot intervention trial. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19, 203–217.
Coatsworth, J. D., Duncan, L., Nix, R., Greenberg, M., Gayles, J., Bamberger, E., & Demi, M. A. (2015). Integrating mindfulness with parent training: Effects of the mindfulness-enhanced strengthening families program. Developmental Psychology, 51(1), 26–35.
Corthorn, C., Duncan, L., & Manzi, J. (2015). Psychometric properties of the Spanish-language version of the Interpersonal Mindfulness in Parenting (IM-P) Scale among mothers of preschool children in Chile (submitted).
Creasey, G. L., & Jarvis, P. A. (1994). Relationships between parenting stress and developmental functioning among 2-year-olds. Infant Behavior and Development, 17, 423–429.
Dawe, S., & Harnett, P. (2007). Reducing potential for child abuse among methadone-maintained parents: Results from a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 32, 381–390.
Duncan, L. G. (2007). Assessment of mindful parenting among parents of early adolescents: Development and validation of the Interpersonal Mindfulness in Parenting Scale (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA.
Duncan, L., & Bardacke, N. (2010). Mindfulness-based childbirth and parenting education: Promoting family mindfulness during the perinatal period. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19, 190–202.
Duncan, L., Coatsworth, D., & Greenberg, M. (2009). A model of mindful parenting: Implications for parent–child relationships and prevention research. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 12, 255–270.
Feldman, G., Hayes, A., Kumar, S., Greeson, J., & Laurenceau, J. P. (2007). Mindfulness and emotion regulation: The development and initial validation of Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale-Revised. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 29, 177–190.
Goodman, S. H., & Gotlib, I. (2002). Children of depressed parents. Mechanisms of risk and implications for treatment. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., & Walach, H. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 57, 35–43.
Hoffman, S., Sawyer, A., Witt, A., & Oh, D. (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(2), 169–183.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based intervention in context: Past, present and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 144–156.
Kabat-Zinn, M., & Kabat-Zinn, J. (1997). Everyday blessings: The inner work of mindful parenting. New York, NY: Hyperion.
Lovibond, S., & Lovibond, P. (1995). Manual for the depression anxiety stress scales. Sydney, Australia: Psychology Foundation of Australia.
Ma, Y. (2008). Attachment security, mindfulness, psychotherapy: Testing a meditational model (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Maryland, College Park, MD.
MacDonald, E., & Hastings, R. P. (2010). Mindful parenting and care involvement of fathers of children with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19, 236–240.
Milicic, N. (1991). A ser feliz también se aprende: Guía para la educación el niño de 2 a 6 años. Santiago, Chile: Editorial Sudamericana.
Murray, L., Kempton, C., Woolgar, M., & Hooper, R. (1993). Depressed mothers’ speech to their infants and its relation to infant gender and cognitive development. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 34, 1083–1101.
Parent, J., Garai, E., Forehand, R., Potts, J., Haker, K., Champion, J., & Compas, B. (2010). Parent mindfulness and child outcome: The roles of parent depressive symptoms and parenting. Mindfulness, 1, 254–264.
Pérez-Blasco, J., Viguer, P., & Rodrigo, M. (2013). Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on psychological distress, well-being and maternal self-efficacy in breast-feeding mothers: Results of a pilot study. Archives of Women Mental Health, 16, 227–236.
Restifo, K., & Bögels, S. M. (2009). Family risk factors for youth depression: A family systems integration and treatment model. Clinical Psychology Review, 29, 294–316.
Román, M. (2010). Validación de la versión abreviada de las escalas de depresión, ansiedad y estrés (DASS-21) en adolescentes estudiantes de enseñanza media de la comuna de Temuco (Unpublished Dissertation for Master Degree). University of La Frontera, Temuco, Chile.
Sidebothan, P. (2001). An ecological approach to child abuse: A creative use of scientific models in research and practice. Child Abuse Review, 10, 97–112.
Siegel, D., & Payne Bryson, T. (2015). No-drama discipline: The whole-brain way to calm the chaos and nurture your child’s developing mind. New York, NY: Bantam Books.
Singh, N., Lancioni, G., Winton, A. S., & Fisher, B. (2006). Mindful parenting decreases aggression, noncompliance and self-injury in children with autism. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 14(3), 169–178.
Singh, N., Lancioni, G., Winton, A. S., & Singh, J. (2007). Mindful parenting decreases aggression and increases social behavior in children with developmental disabilities. Behavior Modification, 31(6), 749–771.
Singh, N., Lancioni, G. E., Winton, A. S., Singh, J., Singh, A. N., Adkins, A. D., & Wahler, R. G. (2010a). Training in mindful caregiving transfers to parent–child interactions. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19, 167–174.
Singh, N., Singh, A., Lancioni, G., Singh, J., Winton, A., & Adkins, A. (2010b). Mindfulness training for parents and their children with ADHD increases the children’s compliance. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19, 157–166.
Solari, B. (2010). Pre validación del cuestionario Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (Dissertation for Master in Clinical Psychology Degree). Catholic University of Chile, Santiago, Chile.
Stein, A., Gath, D., Bucher, J., Bond, A., Day, A., & Cooper, P. (1991). The relationship between post-natal depression and mother-child interaction. British Journal of Psychiatry, 158, 46–52.
Van der Oord, S., Bögels, S., & Peijnenburg, D. (2012). The effectiveness of mindfulness training for children with ADHD and mindful parenting for their parents. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21, 139–147.
Vieten, C., & Astin, J. (2008). Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention during pregnancy on prenatal stress and mood: Results of a pilot study. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 11, 67–74.
Vinet, E., Rehbein, L., Román F., & Saiz, J. (2008). Escalas abreviadas de depresión, ansiedad y estrés (DASS-21). Versión chilena traducida y adaptada (Unpublished Document). Universidad de La Frontera, Temuco, Chile.
Vollestad, J., Nielsen, M. B., & Nielsen, G. H. (2012). Mindfulness- and acceptance-based interventions for anxiety disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 51, 239–260.
Walach, H., Buchheld, N., Buttenmuller, V., Kleinknecht, N., & Schmidt, S. (2006). Measuring mindfulness—The Freiburg mindfulness inventory. Personality and Individual Differences, 40, 1543–1555.
Webster-Stratton, C. (1990). Stress: A potential disruptor of parent perceptions and family interactions. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 19, 302–312.
Williams, K., & Wahler, R. (2010). Are mindful parents more authoritative and less authoritarian? An analysis of clinic-referred mothers. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19, 230–235.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in the present study were approved by the ethical committee of the School of Psychology of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Catholic University of Chile), and in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
About this article
Cite this article
Corthorn, C., Milicic, N. Mindfulness and Parenting: A Correlational Study of Non-meditating Mothers of Preschool Children. J Child Fam Stud 25, 1672–1683 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-015-0319-z
- Parental stress
- Preschool children