Effects of a Brief Mobile Mindfulness Application on Mindful Parenting, Noncompliance of Children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder, Perceived Parenting Stress, and Parent-Child Interactions
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AbstractParents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at an increased risk of stress, anxiety, depression, and caregiver burnout compared to parents of children without ASD. These risks remain stable over time due to the pervasiveness of autism and its associated behavioural challenges. Parent-focused mindfulness-based interventions have been shown to positively impact parenting behaviour, behavioural difficulties of children with ASD, parenting stress, and parent-child interactions. Research examining the impact of mobile mindfulness application interventions on parenting children with ASD is needed. In the current study, we used an AB design (pilot) followed by a nonconcurrent multiple baseline design to examine the effects of Headspace®, a mindfulness mobile application (app), on mindful parenting vocal statements, child noncompliance, parenting stress, and parent-child interactions of three parents and their children with or without ASD. Behavioural observations and self-report data were collected throughout the study. Behavioural data indicated an increase in the mean level of mindful parenting vocal statements per minute from baseline to intervention phases. Relative to baseline, parent-reported mindful parenting and positive parent-child interactions increased for two parents and parenting stress decreased for two parents. Parent-child observational data demonstrated a variable decreasing trend in child noncompliance across two participants and a decrease in parent reactivity. Overall, these findings suggest that Headspace® is a promising tool for improving mindful parenting behaviours, parent-reported parenting stress, child noncompliance, and parent-child interactions. Future studies should consider evaluating the effects of a parent-targeted virtual self-guided mindful parenting intervention and its effects on both parent and child outcomes.
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