Mindfulness has drawn increased attention in prevention programs targeting parents. Commonly, mindfulness-based programs are provided to reduce parental stress and improve child outcomes. Less often, researchers incorporate a mindfulness-informed approach, integrating a low dose of mindfulness exercises into an existing evidence-based parent training model. Little is known about participant engagement with mindfulness exercises in such programs. This non-experimental study focuses on families who are at risk for impaired parenting due to the unique stressor of a parent’s deployment to war. The goal is to examine military parents’ online engagement in mindfulness exercises and associations between engagement and dispositional mindfulness within a web-enhanced parent training program. Online tracking records and self-reported data were obtained from 370 military parents (207 families) who were assigned to the program; at 6-month follow-up, 68.6% of these parents were retained (at least one parent reported from 75.4% of families). Results showed that nearly half (44.6%) of the parents engaged with the exercises. Participants who attended face-to-face group sessions (i.e., attendees) engaged throughout the intervention period, whereas participants who never attended group sessions (i.e., non-attendees) mostly engaged during the first month in the program. Attendees and mothers engaged more than non-attendees and fathers. While engaged parents self-reported increased dispositional mindfulness at 6-month follow-up compared to baseline, only mothers’ engagement accounted for a significant proportion of the variance (3%) in dispositional mindfulness at 6-month follow-up, after controlling for covariates. Implications for incorporating online mindfulness exercises into parent training are discussed in the context of programming for military families.
- Military families
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Health(social science)
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Applied Psychology