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Type: Thesis
Title: Evolving Emotions: Critically Analysing the Associations between Mindful Parenting and Affect Regulation
Author: Townshend, Kishani
Issue Date: 2018
School/Discipline: Adelaide Medical School
Abstract: Ancient scholars, theologians and philosophers have debated for centuries about the nature of the mind. Yet depression is the leading cause of disability across the world. The ubiquitous growth of mindfulness has in recent decades, been applied to assist parents with affect regulation. Mindful parenting is defined as a set of parenting skills that enhance present-centred, discerning awareness in parent–child relationships. The potential benefits of mindful parenting could span across generations to promote affect regulation for both children and parents. However further clarity is needed on how mindful parenting facilitates affect regulation. To date the literature examining the effectiveness of Mindful Parenting (MP) programs has been plagued by poor methodological design, diversity of interventions, questions surrounding program fidelity and a lack of clarity about change processes. Aims: The overall purpose of this dissertation was to critically analyse how mindful parenting is associated with affect regulation to evolve emotions. The focus of this dissertation is on mindful parenting of children aged 0 to 18 years. More specifically it aims to: - 1. Systematically review the international and national literature on the effectiveness of MP programs in promoting the wellbeing of children and parents (Study 1). 2. Investigate the effectiveness of an Australian MP program called Caring for Body and Mind in Pregnancy (CBMP) in reducing perinatal depression, anxiety and stress amongst a sample of at-risk pregnant women (Study 2). 3. Critically analyse how change processes utilised by MP programs are associated with affect regulation (Study 3). 4. Clarify which factors in the change processes of self-compassion and mindfulness scales have the strongest correlation with the reduction of perinatal depression (Study 4). xvi Method: Four diverse epistemologies were utilised to investigate the overarching research aim. Study 1 utilised the systematic review methodology to review the best available evidence on the effectiveness of MP Programs. Study 2 employed a repeated measures design to investigate the effectiveness of CBMP from a seven-year hospital dataset. Study 3 critically analysed the change processes that promote affect regulation by using Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to examine semi-structured interviews with four facilitators of MP programs. Finally, Study 4 utilised Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) to analyse the change processes associated with the reduction of perinatal depression. Results: The systematic review yielded inconclusive evidence to support the effectiveness of MP programs due to the poor methodological quality of studies. Study 2 found CBMP significantly improved perinatal depression, anxiety, stress, mindfulness and self-compassion. The findings from Study 3 resulted in the anchor, a novel theoretical framework to investigate change processes. The anchor incorporates closely interconnected change mechanisms namely reflective functioning, attachment, cognitive, affective, somatic and social change mechanisms. The results from Study 4 indicated that self-kindness, observing and acting with awareness were associated with significant reductions in perinatal depression. Conclusion: Although the systematic review was unable to conclusively establish the effectiveness of Mindful Parenting programs, the other three studies provided suggestive evidence of its effectiveness. Contributions to new knowledge include conducting one of the first systematic reviews on mindful parenting, clarifying change processes associated with the reduction of perinatal depression and developing, a novel model of change, the anchor. The phenomenology of affect regulation still appears to puzzle humanity. Keywords: mindful parenting, mindfulness, affect regulation, attention regulation, emotions, perinatal depression, perinatal anxiety and stress.
Advisor: Jordan, Zoe
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, Adelaide Medical School, 2019
Keywords: Mindfulness Based Cognilive Therapy (MBCT)
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Mindfull parenting
Affect regulation
Repeated Measures
Structural Equation Modeiing
Syslematfc Reviaw
Interpretative Phenomenogical Analysis
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