The following dissertation is a compilation of two studies examining the impact of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on parents of children with developmental delays (DD) and the subsequent effects on child social development. Study one sought to examine whether changes in child social skills occurred after parent stress was reduced through an 8-week MBSR training group, and whether these changes were associated with improvements in parent-child relational factors. Data from 24 families of children with DD (ages 2.5-5) were examined in this study. Paired samples t-tests examining pre-post differences revealed that mothers, secondary informants, and teachers acknowledged improvements in child self-control. Variance in child self-control was significantly accounted for by changes in two parent-child relational factors: attachment and discipline practices. Study two expounded on these results by investigating the mechanisms through which parent-child relationships impact child self-control. A proposed pathway model explaining these relationships suggests that parent-child relationships impact parenting behaviors that promote child self-regulation, subsequently improving child self-control. A total of 23 parents were included in study two analyses. Parents were filmed at three time points while engaging in a parent-child clean-up task during laboratory assessments. Hierarchical regressions revealed that neither attachment nor discipline practices predicted changes in parenting behavior at post-treatment nor follow-up. However parenting frustration was associated with reduced intrusiveness. In addition, greater maternal scaffolding and lower intrusiveness were associated with increased compliance and reduced non-compliance. Children who were non-compliant by means of overt-resistance tended to have greater parent-reported self-control. Although contradictory to our expectations, behaviors associated with overt-resistance may be considered adaptive and self-regulatory when expressed in peer-conflict situations, but considered non-compliant and thereby less adaptive during parent-child interactions. Children with DD may have difficulty differentiating appropriate behaviors based on social contexts, causing them to be non-compliant with parents, while exhibiting appropriately regulated assertiveness with peers. Overall, these studies support the importance of addressing parenting stress when targeting child social development. By targeting parenting stress, parents may experience lower frustration in the parent-child relationship resulting in improved parenting behaviors that promote child self-regulation.

LLU Discipline

Clinical Psychology




School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Neece, Cameron L.

Second Advisor

Morrell, Holly E. R.

Third Advisor

Roberts, Lisa R.

Fourth Advisor

Vermeersch, David

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Child Behavior Disorders; Developmental Disabilities; Stress - Psychological; Mindfulness; Parenting - Psychology

Subject - Local

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction; Child Social Development; Intraclass Correlation Coefficient; Parenting Relationship Questionnaire; Social Skills Improvement System



Page Count


Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives