Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Monograph

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Education

Supervisor

Bax, Karen

Abstract

This study utilized a mixed methods sequential embedded design to explore the acceptability of Making Mindfulness Matter (M3), an eight-week, concurrent intervention for families who have experienced adversity, from the parent’s perspective. M3 incorporates education and skills development around mindfulness, social-emotional learning, positive psychology, and neuroscience. Participants were 74 families, with children ages four to nine, who participated in the M3 program at a family support and crisis centre. Frequency data was collected for attendance and skills use between sessions. An inductive content analysis was used to identify the key themes pertaining to parent’s experience with the M3 program. The analysis identified nine themes related to the areas in which parents perceived M3 to be helpful. These themes and findings and their implications are discussed, as are recommendations for future research directions. Findings across all three domains strongly support the acceptability of the M3 program with this population.

Summary for Lay Audience

Making Mindfulness Matter (M3) is a concurrent parent and child program that is intended for families who experienced adversity. The goal of M3 is to provide families with new ways of responding to stressful situations and to build skills that would help them manage difficult emotions and behaviours.

The program begins with an exploration of how the brain works and responds to stress. Mindfulness, social-emotional learning (SEL), and positive psychology principles are also taught and practiced. Mindfulness exercises help to bring awareness to the present moment, while SEL offers strategies for responding more effectively. Kindness and gratitude practices are incorporated to reduce family stress and improve well-being.

Before understanding whether M3 is effective with a specific population, an acceptability study was conducted to understand how parents respond to the program, specifically, whether parents believed the program was helpful and whether they applied the strategies in their lives.

A total of 74 families, with children ages four to nine, participated in the M3 program at a family support and crisis centre. Parents provided information around their impression of the weekly sessions and their own, their child’s own, and their joint skills use between M3 sessions. Parent attendance at m3 sessions were also considered.

An exploration of this data strongly suggests that parents found the information taught during the M3 program and the skills, when used between sessions, helpful. These findings support the use of the M3 program with families who experienced adversity in a community-based setting. The themes also helped to identify some changes which could be made to the curriculum to increase the program’s acceptability. Based on the results from this research study, future research will explore whether the program is seen to be acceptable by children and program deliverers, whether the program is feasible in community based settings, and if the M3 program is effective for reducing a family’s stress and improving emotional and behavioural responses.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Available for download on Wednesday, April 20, 2022

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