Study: Mindfulness-Enhanced Behavioral Parent Training More Beneficial for ADHD Families
Behavioral parent training (BPT) enhanced with mindfulness meditation techniques provides additional benefits to parents of children with ADHD, such as improved discipline practices and parental behavioral regulation. This is the finding of a new randomized control trial conducted by researchers at the University of British Colombia and BC Children’s Hospital who compared mindfulness-enhanced to standard BPT.
June 29, 2020
Behavioral parent training (BPT) enhanced with mindfulness techniques improves harsh discipline practices and behavioral regulation among parents of children with ADHD more so than standard BPT, according to findings published in the Journal of Attention Disorders.1 This study, which was among the first to compare the efficacy of mindfulness-enhanced versus standard BPT interventions for parents of children with ADHD, found no significant differences in mindful parenting, parenting distress, or dysfunctional parent-child interactions.
Participants included 63 parents of children diagnosed with ADHD ages 6 through 11. Parents were randomly assigned to either standard or mindful BPT groups, and completed 12 weekly, 2-hour group sessions. Before and after completing the group intervention, parents filled out questionnaires that assessed mindful parenting, parenting stress, harsh discipline practices, behavioral dysregulation, and child ADHD symptoms. Parents in the mindful BPT group participated in a session on mindfulness and learned a variety of formal and informal mindfulness techniques, before being taught the same child behavior management techniques as the standard BPT group.
Compared to parents in the standard BPT group, those in the mindfulness group significantly improved parenting discipline practices, such as being less reactive, as well as self-regulation skills, such as the ability to inhibit, shift flexibility, control emotional responses, and self-monitor. However, mindful BPT did not significantly enhance parental confidence or improve the child’s ADHD symptoms more than did standard BPT.
These findings reiterate the benefits of enhancing BPT with mindfulness, especially since reducing coercive parenting is related to improved parenting stress and parent-child interactions, which are in turn associated with lower levels of child attentional-behavioral problems. In conclusion, parents who struggle with discipline practices and behavioral-emotional dysregulation could benefit from clinician recommended mindfulness-enhanced BPT.
1Mah, J. W. T., Murray, C., Locke, J., & Carbert, N. (2020). Mindfulness-Enhanced Behavioral Parent Training for Clinic-Referred Families of Children With ADHD: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Attention Disorders. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054720925882