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30-09-2019 | Original research | Uitgave 2/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 2/2020

Mindfulness Interventions to Reduce Impact of Interparental Conflict on Adolescents

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 2/2020
Rachel G. Lucas-Thompson, Natasha S. Seiter, Patricia C. Broderick, J. Douglas Coatsworth
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Exposure to frequent, intense, and poorly resolved interparental conflict puts adolescents at risk for problems in many domains, including internalizing and externalizing problems, and stress physiological dysfunction. Existing intervention strategies to target these adolescents focus almost solely on improving marital dynamics, for example, through relationship education or couples therapy. However, interventions that aim to enhance marital communication require high levels of parental commitment and motivation for change, and may be expensive and time-consuming. In the current paper, we argue that it is essential to also apply intervention strategies that directly promote the regulatory capabilities of adolescents to improve outcomes for youth from high-conflict homes. Mindfulness, or present-moment, nonjudgemental awareness, is associated with myriad positive outcomes in adults (e.g., lower levels of depression and anxiety, and greater emotion regulation). We propose that mindfulness interventions are an ideal intervention strategy for adolescents from high conflict homes. Mindfulness interventions may target the mechanisms whereby destructive marital interaction impacts youth, by providing distance between experiences and evaluations, training regulation of attention, and enhancing self-compassion and nonjudgement, as well as by enhancing relationships. We also provide an example of a specific intervention model designed to increase mindfulness in youth, Learning to Breathe (L2B).

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