Room to Improve: Predictors of Attendance and Outcomes Within Mindfulness-Enhanced Behavioral Parent Training

Mark O. Donovan*, Emma Barkus, Jane S. Herbert, Judy A. Pickard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Objectives: Parents across a broad sociodemographic spectrum struggle with their children’s difficult behaviors and need effective and engaging interventions. We developed a mindfulness-enhanced behavioral parent training group program (MeBPT) aiming to be more inclusive and enable positive outcomes. This study investigated whether MeBPT can meet diverse needs across child, parent, family, and program-delivery factors, and explored whether improvements in parent-rated child behavior are predicted by changes in mindful parenting, parenting approach, or both. 

Method: Participants were 338 parents of 3- to 12-year-old children presenting with externalizing problems to a university clinic in regional Australia. Factors that significantly correlated with improvements in parent and child outcomes or attendance were included in regression analyses. 

Results: Improved parent-rated child behavior was predicted by change in mindful parenting (p = 0.019) but not parenting approach (p = 0.305). Attendance was high across all factors, and particularly for older parents. Improvements in parent well-being, approach, mindfulness, and child behavior were similarly large for families across child and family characteristics. Low-income families exhibited less improvement in parental well-being (p = 0.012), although demonstrated similar improvements in child behavior, parenting approach, and mindful parenting. Families with more severe problems at baseline showed largest gains (p < 0.002). Parental self-awareness and acceptance were important change agents. 

Conclusions: MeBPT appears effective across various sociodemographic backgrounds and is particularly beneficial for families presenting with more severe behavioral problems. Controlled research with ethnically diverse families is needed to confirm the benefits of MeBPT and to allow examination of mediators and moderators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Early online date3 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Apr 2024

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