This study tests a group-based secular contemplative practice intervention, Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT), with parents of young children. We report on a randomized controlled preliminary efficacy study. Certified teachers administered CBCT for 20 hr across 8 to 10 weeks in two cohorts of parents with infants and young children. The intervention group was compared to a waitlist control group. Thirty-nine parents and their children, who ranged in age from 4 months to 5 years, were evaluated at pre- and postintervention (n = 25 intervention, n = 14 waitlist control) on hair cortisol concentration. Parents also completed self-administered questionnaires at both time points regarding demographics, physical symptoms of stress, parenting stress, self-compassion, and mindfulness. Children of parents in the CBCT group experienced significant decreases in cortisol at the postintervention assessment, as compared with the control group. However, parent cortisol and self-report measures did not significantly change other than a small effect on clinical levels of parenting stress. CBCT may be a positive new way to intervene with parents to lower infants’ and young children's cumulative physiological stress.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health