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Hypothesis and Theory ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01602

The Role of Compassion and Mindfulness in Building Parental Resilience When Caring for Children with Chronic Illness or Disability: A Conceptual Model

  • 1Center for Mindfulness and Compassion, Cambridge Health Alliance, United States
  • 2Center for Mindfulness, UC San Diego Health, United States
  • 3Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, Seattle Children's Hospital, United States

Compassion-oriented and mindfulness-based interventions (CMBIs) and therapies hold promise to support parent resilience by enabling adaptive stress appraisal and coping, mindful parenting and perhaps crucially, self-compassion, when facing chronic illness or disability in children. These contemplative modalities have recently been expanded to parents of children with chronic illness, building on successful applications for adults facing stress, chronic pain, or mental illness, and for healthcare professionals in response caregiver burnout resulting from their work. The design and adaptation of interventions and therapies require a conceptual model of parent resilience in the context of childhood chronic illness that integrates mindfulness and compassion. The objective of this paper is to propose and describe such a model. First, we review the need for parent support interventions for this population. Second, we introduce a Model of Compassion, Mindfulness and Resilience in Parental Caregiving. We highlight the mindful parenting approaches, guiding theories for adaptive coping, and family resilience frameworks that informed our model. Third, we describe a case of a parent to illustrate a practical application model. Finally, we outline future directions for intervention development and research to examine the impact of CMBIs on parent resilience.

Keywords: parent, compassion, mindfulness, Children with illness/disability, Conceptual Model, self-compassion, family resilience

Received: 03 Jan 2019; Accepted: 25 Jun 2019.

Edited by:

Eva S. Potharst, UvA Minds, Netherlands

Reviewed by:

Doug Coatsworth, Colorado State University, United States
Christine Lathren, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Cousineau, PhD, Hobbs, MA and Arthur. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Tara M. Cousineau, PhD, Center for Mindfulness and Compassion, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, United States,