Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are at high risk for increased levels of behavior problems and developing internalizing problems. Previous literature has highlighted the impact of parental stress on the development of behavioral problems in children with ASD; however, little research has examined the relation between parenting stress and internalizing problems in children with ASD. The current study utilized data from the Mindful Awareness for Parenting Stress (MAPS) study which consisted of families of 80 preschool children with developmental delays (DD) (N = 31) and children with ASD (N = 49) whose parents reported high levels of stress. Specifically, we investigated whether decreases in parenting stress would lead to reductions in internalizing behavior problems among children with ASD and children with DD, and whether this relation was moderated by the child’s ASD status. Additionally, we examined whether individual increases in the mindful facets of acting with awareness and non-judgment, from pre- to post- treatment, would lead to reductions in internalizing problems among children with ASD and children with DD, and whether this relation was moderated by the child’s ASD status. We found that children whose parents were assigned to the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) treatment group, had greater reductions in internalizing problems compared to children whose parents were assigned to the waitlist-control group, b = -5.71, p < .05. Furthermore, we found that children of parents who reported greater increases in acting with awareness post-treatment had a greater reduction in internalizing problems, b = -2.57, p < .05. We also found that, children whose parents had greater increases in non-judgment posttreatment had a greater reduction in internalizing problems, b = -1.85 , p < .05. However, ASD status was not a significant moderator in either analysis, ps > .05.
School of Behavioral Health
Cameron L. Neece
Maya M. Boustani
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Autism spectrum disorders in children; Mindfulness (Psychology)
Loma Linda University Libraries
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.
McGregor, Hadley, "Effects of Parents’ MBSR on Internalizing Problems in Children: ASD as Moderator" (2022). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 1120.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives