Parents of children with type 1 diabetes (T1D) often experience distress and worries, which may negatively impact their parenting behaviors. The current study investigates parental mindfulness (i.e., an enhanced attention to and awareness of current experiences or present reality) as a resilience mechanism. Using a daily diary approach, the predictive role of parental mindfulness for daily diabetes-related worries was examined, its impact upon protective parenting behaviors, and its buffering role in the relationship between daily worries and protective parenting behaviors.
Participants were 56 parents of 40 children with T1D (2–12 years). Trait mindfulness was assessed with the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale. Subsequently, parents completed a diary for 14 consecutive days, assessing parental worries about hypo- and hyperglycemia and general and diabetes-specific parental protective behavior.
Multilevel analyses showed that parental diabetes-related worries fluctuated substantially across days and positively predicted daily protective behavior. Higher levels of parental mindfulness predicted less daily worries about hypoglycemia and lower engagement in general protective behavior and hypoglycemia avoidance behavior. In addition, the relationship between worries about hyperglycemia and general protective behavior was moderated by parental mindfulness.
The present findings highlight the importance of daily parental worries in explaining parental protective behaviors on a daily basis. Mindfulness emerged as a promising resilience factor in parents of children with T1D, resulting in less daily worries and protective parenting. These results have important clinical implications and point to the promising role of mindfulness interventions in this context.