The role of mindfulness in the relationship between perceived parenting, early maladaptive schemata and parental sense of competence.


Transgenerational patterns of child rearing practices have been implicated in the maintenance of psychosocial problems across generations. Understanding such patterns has been an important aim of research in developmental psychology for decades. Recently, it has been suggested that individuals’ current parenting practices are strongly influenced by their early maladaptive schemata, which are thought to arise from their own childhood experiences with their caregivers. In the context of family interventions, increasing parental mindfulness has been proposed to reduce the effects of such schemata. However, there is currently no research testing the possible interrelationships among these variables in community samples. The first aim of the current study was, therefore, to test the associations between parents’ perceptions of their own aversive childhood experiences with their caregivers, the extent of their early maladaptive schemata, and their current level of perceived parenting competence. The second aim was to explore whether parents’ level of mindfulness is moderating or mediating this relationship. A community sample of 145 parents completed a packet of self-report questionnaires. Results of path analyses indicated that participants’ early maladaptive schemata mediated the relationship between their perception of their own childhood experiences with their caregivers and their current sense of parental competence. Furthermore, stronger early maladaptive schemata were related to lower levels of mindfulness, which in turn was associated with lower levels of parental competence. Our results provide an important initial step towards exploring the potential role of mindfulness in the intergenerational transmission of parenting practices in the community.