The Relationship between Child Stress, Child Mindfulness and Parent Mindfulness

Download Download as PDF (Size:332KB)  HTML   XML  PP. 40-51  
Author(s)    Leave a comment


The current study tested the degree to which mindfulness in parents was directly and indirectly related to stress levels in children. A community sample of 68 parent-child dyads completed self-report surveys (Children: Mage = 10.70, SD = 2.6; 52% female, 48% male; Parents: Mage = 42.70, SD = 9.6; 72% female, 28% male). Multiple regression analyses revealed that both parent mindfulness and child mindfulness were significantly and negatively related to child stress levels. However, mindfulness in children did not mediate the relationship between mindfulness in parents and stress in children. This study contributes to the emerging literature on the effects of mindful parenting on child wellbeing and provides practical suggestions for how parents and children can increase their mindfulness.

Cite this paper

Waters, L. (2016) The Relationship between Child Stress, Child Mindfulness and Parent Mindfulness. Psychology, 7, 40-51. doi: 10.4236/psych.2016.71006.


[1] Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple Regression: Testing and Interpreting Interactions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
[2] Altmaier, E., & Maloney, R. (2007). An Initial Evaluation of a Mindful Parenting Program. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 63, 1231-1238.
[3] American Psychological Association (2010). Stress in America Findings.
[4] Ansburg, P. I., & Hill, K. (2003). Creative and Analytic Thinkers Differ in Their Use of Attentional Resources. Personality and Individual Differences, 34, 1141-1152.
[5] Baer, R. A. (2003). Mindfulness Training as a Clinical Intervention: A Conceptual and Empirical Review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10, 125-143.
[6] Baer, R. A. (2011). Measuring Mindfulness. Contemporary Buddhism, 12, 241-261.
[7] Bandura, A. (1977). Self-Efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215.
[8] Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The Moderator-Mediator Variable Distinction in Social Psychological Research: Conceptual, Strategic, and Statistical Considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173-1182.
[9] Bedin, L., & Sarriera, J. (2015). A Comparative Study of the Subjective Well-Being of Parents and Adolescents Considering Gender, Age and Social Class. Social Indicators Research, 120, 79-95.
[10] Belsky, J. (1984). The Determinants of Parenting: A Process Model. Child Development, 55, 83-96.
[11] Bernard, M. E., Stephanau, A., & Urbach, D. (2007). ASG Student Social and Emotional Health Report.
[12] Bishop, S. R., Lau, M., Shapiro, S., Carlson, L., Anderson, N. D., Carmody, J. et al. (2004). Mindfulness: A Proposed Operational Definition. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11, 230-241.
[13] Bluth, K., & Wahler, R. G. (2011). Parenting Preschoolers: Can Mindfulness Help? Mindfulness, 2, 282-285.
[14] Bögels, S., Hoogstad, B., van Dun, L., de Schutter, S., & Restifo, K. (2008). Mindfulness Training for Adolescents with Externalizing Disorders and Their Parents. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 36, 193-209.
[15] Bögels, S., & Restifo, K. (2015). Mindful Parenting: A Guide for Mental Health Practitioners. New York: Springer-Verlag.
[16] Bogenschneider, K., Small, S. A., & Tsay, J. C. (1997). Child, Parent, and Contextual Influences on Perceived Parenting Competence among Parents of Adolescents. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 59, 345-362.
[17] Broderick, P. C., & Metz, S. (2009). Learning to BREATHE: A Pilot Trial of a Mindfulness Curriculum for Adolescents. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 2, 35-46. 2009.9715696
[18] 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.
[19] Brown. K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). Perils and Promise in Defining and Measuring Mindfulness: Observations from Experience. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11, 242-248.
[20] Brown, K. W., Ryan, R. M., & Creswell, J. D. (2007). Mindfulness: Theoretical Foundations and Evidence for Its Salutary Effects. Psychological Inquiry, 18, 211-237.
[21] Campion, J., & Rocco, S. (2009). Minding the Mind: The Effects and Potential of a School-Based Meditation Programme for Mental Health Promotion. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 2, 47-55.
[22] 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.
[23] Coleman, P. K., & Karraker, K. H. (2003a). Maternal Self-Efficacy Beliefs, Competence in Parenting, and Toddlers’ Behavior and Developmental Status. Infant Mental Health Journal, 24, 126-148.
[24] Cox, T. (1978). Stress. Basingstoke: Macmillan Education.
[25] Danaan, C. (2015). Zen & the Path of Mindful Parenting: Meditations on Raising Children. East Sussex: Leaping Hare Press.
[26] Dane, E. (2011). Paying Attention to Mindfulness and Its Effects on Task Performance in the Workplace. Journal of Management, 37, 997-1018.
[27] Dane, E., & Pratt, M. G. (2009). Conceptualizing and Measuring Intuition: A Review of Recent Trends. In G. P. Hodgkinson & J. K. Ford (Eds.), International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (pp. 1-49). Chichester: Wiley.
[28] 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.
[29] de Bruin, E. I., Blom, R., Smit, F. M., van Steensel, F. J., & Bögels, S. M. (2014). MYmind: Mindfulness Training for Youngsters with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Their Parents. Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, 19, 906-914.
[30] Dix, T. (1991). The Affective Organization of Parenting: Adaptive and Maladaptive Processes. Psychological Bulletin, 110, 3-25.
[31] Dix, T., & Branca, S. (2003). Parenting as a Goal-Regulation Process. In L. Kuczynski (Ed.), Handbook of Dynamics in Parent-Child Relations (pp. 167-188). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
[32] Duffy, C. J., Cunningham, E. G., & Moore, S. M. (2005). Brief Report: The Factor Structure of Mood States in an Early Adolescent Sample. Journal of Adolescence, 28, 677-680.
[33] Dumas, J. E. (2005). Mindfulness-Based Parent Training: Strategies to Lessen the Grip of Automaticity in Families with Disruptive Children. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34, 779-791.
[34] Dumas, J. E., & LaFreniere, P. J. (1993). Mother-Child Relationships as Sources of Support or Stress: A Comparison of Competent, Average, Aggressive, and Anxious Dyads. Child Development, 64, 1732-1754.
[35] Duncan, L. G., Coatsworth, J. D., & Greenberg, M. T. (2009). A Model of Mindful Parenting: Implications for Parent-Child Relationships and Prevention Research. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 12, 255-270.
[36] Eshel, N., Daelmans, B., Cabral De Mello, M., & Martines, J. (2006). Responsive Parenting: Interventions and Outcomes. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 84, 991-998.
[37] Eyberg, S. M., & Graham-Pole, J. R. (2005). Mindfulness and Behavioural Parent Training: Commentary. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34, 792-794.
[38] Feldman, G. C., Hayes, A. M., Kumar, S. M., Greeson, J. G., & Laurenceau, J. P. (2007). Mindfulness and Emotion Regulation: The Development and Initial Validation of the Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale-Revised (CAMS-R). Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 29, 177-190.
[39] Ferraioli, S. J., & Harris, S. L. (2013). Comparative Effects of Mindfulness and Skills-Based Parent Training Programs for Parents of Children with Autism: Feasibility and Preliminary Outcome Data. Mindfulness, 4, 89-101.
[40] Goodman, S. H., & Gotlib, I. H. (1999). Risk for Psychopathology in the Children of Depressed Mothers: A Developmental Model for Understanding Mechanisms of Transmission. Psychological Review, 106, 458-490.
[41] 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.
[42] Hanh, T. N. (2012). A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles. Berkeley: Plum Blossom Books.
[43] Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K., & Wilson, K. G. (1999). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An Experiential Approach to Behaviour Change. New York: Guilford Press.
[44] Hesketh, T., Zhen, Y., Lu, L., Dong, Z. X., Jun, Y. X., & Xing, Z. W. (2010). Stress and Psychosomatic Symptoms in Chinese School Children: Cross-Sectional Survey. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 95, 136-140.
[45] Jones, T. L., & Prinz, R. J. (2005). Potential Roles of Parental Self-Efficacy in Parent and Child Adjustment: A Review. Clinical Psychology Review, 25, 341-363.
[46] Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever You Go, There You Are. New York: Hyperion.
[47] Kabat-Zinn, J. (2005). Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World through Mindfulness. New York: Hyperion.
[48] Kabat-Zinn, M., & Kabat-Zinn, J. (1997). Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting. New York: Hyperion.
[49] Kaiser Greenland, S. (2010). The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder, and More Compassionate. New York: Free Press.
[50] Kasof, J. (1997). Creativity and Breadth of Attention. Creativity Research Journal, 10, 303-315.
[51] Kenny, D. A., Kashy, D. A., & Bolger, N. (1998). Data Analysis in Social Psychology. In D. Gilbert, S. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), The Handbook of Social Psychology (4th ed., pp. 233-265). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.
[52] Khoury, B., Lecomte, T., Fortin, G., Masse, M., Therien, P., Bouchard, V., Chapleau, M. A., Paquin, K., & Hofmann, S. G. (2013). Mindfulness-Based Therapy: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 33, 763-771.
[53] Kim, K. J., Conger, R. D., Lorenz, F. O., & Elder, G. H. (2001). Parent-Adolescent Reciprocity in Negative Affect and Its Relation to Early Adult Social Development. Developmental Psychology, 37, 775-790.
[54] Lazarus, R. S. (1966). Psychological Stress and the Coping Process. New York: McGraw-Hill.
[55] Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, Appraisal and Coping. New York: Springer.
[56] Lilly, J., & Tungol, J. R. (2015). Effectiveness of Mindfulness Based Psycho-Educational Program on Parental Stress of Selected Mothers of Children with Autism. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, 6, 52-56.
[57] Lite, L. (1996). A Boy and a Bear: The Children’s Relaxation Book. Plantation, FL: Specialty Press, Inc.
[58] Lovibond, S. H., & Lovibond, P. F. (1995). Manual for the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales. Sydney: Psychology Foundation.
[59] MacKinnon, D. P. (2008). Introduction to Statistical Mediation Analysis. New York: Erlbaum.
[60] MacKinnon, D. P., & Luecken, L. J. (2008). How and for Whom? Mediation and Moderation in Health Psychology. Health Psychology, 27, S99-S100.
[61] MacLean, K. L. (2004). Peaceful Piggy Meditation. Park Ridge, IL: Albert Whitman & Company.
[62] MacLean, K. L. (2009). Moody Cow Meditates. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications.
[63] Memmert, D. (2007). Can Creativity Be Improved by an Attention-Broadening Training Program? An Exploratory Study Focusing on Team Sports. Creativity Research Journal, 19, 281-291.
[64] Mendelson, T., Greenberg, M. T., Dariotis, J. K., Gould, L. F., Rhoades, B. L., & Leaf, P. J. (2010). Feasibility and Preliminary Outcomes of a School-Based Mindfulness Intervention for Urban Youth. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 38, 985-994.
[65] Napoli, M., Krech, P. R., & Holley, L. C. (2005). Mindfulness Training for Elementary School Students: The Attention Academy. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 21, 99-125.
[66] Napthali, S. (2003). Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children. Sydney: Inspired Living.
[67] Napthali, S. (2009a). Buddhism for Mothers of Schoolchildren: Finding Calm in the Chaos of the School Years. Sydney: Inspired Living.
[68] Napthali, S. (2009b). Buddhism for Mothers of Young Children. Sydney: Inspired Living.
[69] Parpio, Y. (2013). Prevalence and Associated Factors of Perceived Stress among Adolescent Girls in Nawabshahi City, Pakistan. Journal of Ayub Medical College, 25, 116-119.
[70] Patrick, J., Dyck, M., & Bramston, P. (2010). Depression Anxiety Stress Scale: Is It Valid for Children and Adolescents? Journal of Clinical Psychology, 66, 996-1007.
[71] Power, T. G. (2004). Stress and Coping in Childhood: The Parents’ Role. Parenting: Science and Practice, 4, 271-317.
[72] Race, K. (2014). Mindful Parenting: Simple and Powerful Solutions for Raising Creative, Engaged, Happy Kids in Today’s Hectic World. New York: St Martin’s Griffin.
[73] Roemer, L., & Orsillo, S. M. (2002). Expanding Our Conceptualization of and Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Integrating Mindfulness/Acceptance-Based Approaches with Existing Cognitive-Behavioral Models. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 9, 54-68.
[74] Russell, J (2011). Mindfulness: A Tool for Parents and Children with Asperger’s Syndrome, Mindfulness, 2, 212-215.
[75] Sawyer, J. (2007). Mindful Parenting, Affective Attunement, and Maternal Depression: A Call for Research. Graduate Student Journal of Psychology, 9, 3-9.
[76] Sbaraini, C. R., & Schermann, L. B. (2008). Prevalence of Childhood Stress and Associated Factors: A Study of Schoolchildren in a City in Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil. Cad Saúde Pública, 24, 1082-1088.
[77] Schwartz, O. S., Dudgeon, P., Sheeber, L. B., Yap, M. B. H., Simmons, J. G., & Allen, N. B. (2012). Parental Behaviors during Family Interactions Predict Changes in Depression and Anxiety Symptoms during Adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40, 59-71.
[78] Sedlmeier, P., Eberth, J., Schwarz, M., Zimmermann, D., Haarig, F., Jaeger, S., & Kunze, S. (2012). The Psychological Effects of Meditation: A Meta-Analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 138, 1139-1171.
[79] Siegel, D. J. (2001). Toward an Interpersonal Neurobiology of the Developing Mind: Attachment Relationships, “Mindsight,” and Neural Integration. Infant Mental Health Journal, 22, 67-94.<67::AID-IMHJ3>3.0.CO;2-G
[80] Siegel, D. J., & Hartzell, M. (2004). Parenting from the Inside Out. New York: Penguin.
[81] Singh, N. N., Lancioni, G. E., Winton, A. S. W., Fisher, B. C., Wahler, R. G., Mcaleavey, K. et al. (2006). Mindful Parenting Decreases Aggression, Noncompliance, and Self-Injury in Children with Autism. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 14, 169-177.
[82] Singh, N. N., Lancioni, G. E., Winton, A. S., Singh, J., Curtis, W. J., Wahler, R. G., & McAleavey, K. M. (2007). Mindful Parenting Decreases Aggression and Increases Social Behavior in Children with Developmental Disabilities. Behavior Modification, 31, 749-771.
[83] Singh, N. N., Lancioni, G. E., Manikam, R., Winton, A. S., Singh, A. N., Singh, J., & Singh, A. D. (2011). A Mindfulness-Based Strategy for Self-Management of Aggressive Behavior in Adolescents with Autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5, 1153-1158.
[84] Singh, N. N., Lancioni, G., Winton, A., Karazsia, B., Myers, R., Latham, L., & Singh, J. (2014). Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) for Mothers of Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Effects on Adolescents’ Behavior and Parental Stress. Mindfulness, 6, 646-657.
[85] Singh, N. N., Singh, A., Lancioni, G., Singh, J., Winton, A., & Adkins, A. (2010). Mindfulness Training for Parents and Their Children with ADHD Increases the Children’s Compliance. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19, 157-166.
[86] Slagter, H. A., Davidson, R. J., & Lutz, A. (2011). Mental Training as a Tool in the Neuroscientific Study of Brain and Cognitive Plasticity. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 5, Article No. 17.
[87] Slagter, L., Greishcar, N., & Davidson, R. J. (2009). Theta Phase Synchrony and Conscious Target Perception: Impact of Intensive Mental Training. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 21, 1536-1549.
[88] Slagter, H. A., Lutz, A., Greischar, L. L., Francis, A. D., Nieuwenhuis, S., Davis, J. M., & Davidson, R. J. (2007). Mental Training Affects Distribution of Limited Brain Resources. PLOS Biology, 5, e183.
[89] Snel, E. (2013). Sitting Still like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (And Their Parents). Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
[90] Steinberg, L. (2004). The 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting. New York: Simon & Schuster.
[91] Sun, J. (2014). Mindfulness in Context: A Historical Discourse Analysis. Contemporary Buddhism, 15, 394-415.
[92] Szabó, M. (2010). The Short Version of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21): Factor Structure in a Young Adolescent Sample. Journal of Adolescence, 33, 1-8.
[93] Szabó, M., & Lovibond, P. F. (2006). Worry Episodes and Perceived Problem Solving: A Diary-Based Approach. Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 19, 175-187.
[94] Vanaelst, B., De Vriendt, T., Ahrens, W., Bammann, K., Hadjigeorgiou, C., Konstabel, K. et al. (2012). Prevalence of Psychosomatic and Emotional Symptoms in European School-Aged Children and Its Relationship with Childhood Adversities: Results from the IDEFICS Study. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 21, 253-265.
[95] Waters, L. (2015). The Relationship between Strength-Based Parenting with Children’s Stress Levels and Strength-Based Coping Approaches. Psychology, 6, 689-699.
[96] Waters, L., Barsky, A., Ridd, A., & Allen, K. (2015). Contemplative Education: A Systematic, Evidence-Based Review of the Effect of Meditation Interventions in Schools. Educational Psychology Review, 27, 103-134.
[97] Webster-Stratton, C. (1990). Stress: A Potential Disruptor of Parent Perceptions and Family Interactions. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 19, 302-312.
[98] Williams, K. L., & Wahler, R. G. (2010). Are Mindful Parents More Authoritative and Less Authoritarian? An Analysis of Clinic-Referred Mothers. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19, 230-235.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2016 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.