Mindfulness and Parenting: A Correlational Study of Non-meditating Mothers of Preschool Children

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Carolina Corthorn.

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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.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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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

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Keywords

  • Mindfulness
  • Parenting
  • Parental stress
  • DASS-21
  • Preschool children