Abstract

Children with autism may display an externalizing problem behavior, which are associated with increased parenting stress and depression in caregivers. Mindful parenting is defined as having a non-judgmental moment-to-moment awareness during caregiver-child interactions. The extant literature is mixed, with some reporting that associations between child problem behavior and parenting stress and depression vary by level of mindful parenting, while others have not found these relations. We sought to extend these explorations. Participants who were caregivers of 75 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ages 5–10, in the Pacific Northwestern region of the United States. Child conduct problems, parenting stress and caregiver depression, and mindful parenting were measured using caregiver-reported measures. Child conduct problems, parenting stress, and caregiver depression, and mindful parenting were all significantly correlated. The association between child conduct problems and parenting stress was significant for caregivers with high and low levels of mindful parenting. In contrast, the association between child conduct problems and caregiver depression was significant only for caregivers with low levels of mindful parenting. Our results suggest that mindful parenting may be a promising protective factor for the well-being of caregivers of children with autism. Implications are discussed.

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