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18-06-2020 | REVIEW | Uitgave 9/2020

Mindfulness 9/2020

Parenting Self-compassion: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Mindfulness > Uitgave 9/2020
Felicity A. Jefferson, Alice Shires, John McAloon
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Self-compassion-promoting components are increasingly included in parenting interventions. The strength of the evidence for the effectiveness of these components on self-compassion and both parent and child outcomes is unknown.


A systematic review of parenting intervention studies published between January 1st 2003 and February 8th 2019, that included self-compassion components and measured self-compassion quantitatively was undertaken. The outcomes of interest were the effect of these interventions on self-compassion and the effect of these interventions on both parent and child outcomes. Quantitative meta-analyses were conducted where appropriate.


Thirteen trials met inclusion criteria. Results suggest that parenting interventions that include self-compassion components significantly increased parental self-compassion (pre-post: g = 0.372; between groups: g = 0.690). Pre-post analyses suggest that these interventions decreased parental depression (g = − 0.425), parental anxiety (g = − 0.377) and parental stress (g = − 0.363) and increased parental mindfulness (g = 0.529). Between-group and follow-up results for parent outcomes ranged from no effect to significant improvements. Five of the studies assessed the effects on child outcomes, with mixed results. Included studies were of low methodological quality, lacked control groups and generally failed to report study-level predictors and moderators of treatment effectiveness. There was also evidence of publication bias. Thus, the generalisability of findings may be limited.


Parenting interventions that include self-compassion components appear to improve parental self-compassion, depression, anxiety, stress and mindfulness. Further research is needed to clarify these gains and to identify the mechanisms by which this benefit occurs, both for parents and their children.

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