Jessica Lazaro, PsyD, is a 2021 graduate of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Antioch University, Seattle.
William Heusler, PsyD, Committee Chair
Dana Waters, PsyD, ABPP, Committee Member
Susan Franklin, PsyD, Committee Member
FFMQ, PSI-4-SF, mindfulness, parenting stress, new mothers, correlational study
It can be tempting to want to dissociate from the stress of parenting. The implication being that the early years of parenthood are meant to simply be endured. In contrast, mindfully embracing all aspects of parenthood, including the difficult moments, may allow the appreciation of beauty, growth, and connection, which is so essential to the human experience, especially as it relates to the parent-child relationship. As the popularity of mindfulness research increases, so does the information we have about using it with parents in general, and mothers in particular. The current study explores what, if any, relationship exists between levels of mindfulness and levels of parenting stress in new mothers. The author hypothesized that as mindfulness levels increase, parental stress levels will decrease. A total of 144 new mothers (“new mothers” was defined as mothers with children younger than 4 years old) participated in an online survey that included basic demographics, two formal measures including a mindfulness measure, the Five Factor Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), and a measure of parenting stress, the Parenting Stress Index, 4th edition, short form (PSI-4-SF). Results demonstrated a statistically significant negative correlation between mindfulness and parenting stress. Further analysis of the mindfulness factors indicated that all factors were significantly correlated to parental stress and that nonjudgment of inner experience had the strongest negative correlation, followed by acting with awareness, non-reactivity to inner experience, observing, and describing. Given the statistically significant negative correlation between mindfulness and parenting stress, it appears that clinical interventions aimed at increasing a person’s level of overall mindfulness may be a good choice for working with new mothers whether or not parenting stress is the primary presenting concern for a new mother. Furthermore, if we can inform and more successfully provide mindful clinical interventions for new mothers, the outlook for children may be more positive as mothers are able to remain more present in their parenting role. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA (https://aura.antioch.edu) and OhioLINK ETD Center (https://etd.ohiolink.edu).
Lazaro, J. L. (2021). Examining the Relationship Between Five Factors of Mindfulness and Parenting Stress: A Correlational Study of New Mothers. https://aura.antioch.edu/etds/751