Child behavior problems and parental well-being in families of children with autism: The mediating role of mindfulness and acceptance.


Few research studies have explored how the level of a child’s behavior problems leads to psychological distress in parents of children with autism. The authors explored whether psychological acceptance and mindfulness mediated this relationship between child behavior and parental distress. Seventy-one mothers and 39 fathers of children with autism participated, by reporting on their own positive and negative psychological well-being and their child’s behavior problems. Psychological acceptance was found to act as a mediator variable for maternal anxiety, depression, and stress, and for paternal depression. General mindfulness and mindful parenting had significant mediation effects for maternal anxiety, depression, and stress. These results contribute to evidence that mindfulness and acceptance may be important parental psychological processes, with implications for parent support.