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Mindful Parenting in Secondary Child Mental Health: Key Parenting Predictors of Treatment Effects

  • Lisa Marie EmersonEmail author
  • Evin Aktar
  • Esther de Bruin
  • Eva Potharst
  • Susan Bögels



Emerging evidence supports the positive effects of mindful parenting as a clinical intervention in the context of child psychopathology; however, previous studies have not considered the specific parenting predictors of improvements in child outcomes.


Parents accessing a child and youth secondary mental health care center participated in an 8-week mindful parenting training (n = 89). The effects of the mindful parenting training were assessed on parent-reported child’s psychopathology, parents’ own psychopathology, mindfulness, and parenting factors from pre- to post-intervention, 8-week and 1-year follow-up.


Multi-level analyses indicated immediate and delayed improvements in most child and parent outcomes. Changes in experiential avoidance in parenting partially predicted improvements in child internalizing problems. In combination with mindful parenting, experiential avoidance in parenting fully accounted for improvements in child attention problems. Changes in parental over-reactivity fully accounted for improvements in child externalizing problems.


The mindful parenting training successfully improved the targeted (mindful) parenting factors, which in turn predicted improvements across different child outcomes.


Mindful parenting Experiential avoidance Child psychopathology Parent psychopathology Parenting Parenting stress Parental over-reactivity 


Authors’ Contributions

LME wrote the paper. EA conducted data analyses and collaborated with the writing of the paper. EdB collaborated in the writing of the paper. EP conducted data analysis and collaborated in writing the paper. SB designed the study and collaborated in the writing and editing of the manuscript. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

SB is shareholder of a treatment center that offers Mindful Parenting training. All other authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Ethical Committee of the University of Amsterdam, the Medical Ethical Commission of the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

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


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Applied Psychology, Gold Coast CampusGriffith UniversitySouthportAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Clinical PsychologyLeiden UniversityLeidenNetherlands
  3. 3.Dept. of Child Development and EducationUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamNetherlands
  4. 4.UvA mindsacademic outpatient (child and adolescent) treatment center of the University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Developmental PsychologyUvA minds, academic outpatient (child and adolescent) treatment center of the University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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