The Mediating Effects of Stress on the Relationship Between Mindfulness and Parental Responsiveness

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships among mindfulness, parenting stress, and parental responsiveness. The national sample included 128 adult parents of children under the age of 18. Results indicated that the more mindful parents are, the more attuned and responsive they are to their child’s needs, and that this phenomenon is explained by the lower levels of parenting stress associated with higher levels of mindfulness. Additionally, results indicated particular importance of the recursive relational aspect (i.e., parent–child interaction) of the constructs. Findings of this study provide further support for the benefits of mindfulness and add to the emerging body of research indicating the beneficial impacts of mindfulness in interpersonal relationships. Implications of these findings include practical utility in both clinical and nonclinical populations, including using mindfulness skills to attenuate parenting stress and enhance effective parenting. The current findings offer support for the possibility of increasing parental responsiveness, a parenting practice well established to be largely beneficial for the child, through reducing parenting stress with mindfulness.

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