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Kimberly S. Mollo, OTD, OTR/L; Bernardo A. Merizalde, MD, ABIHM, DHt; Jennifer Lape, OTD, OTR/L


Background: Executive functions are higher order cognitive processes occurring in the frontal lobe that influence cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functions. Adolescents with executive functioning deficits are at risk for difficulties in all domains of occupational functioning. Parents of these adolescents often live in a persistent state of stress that leads to highly reactive exchanges with their children. Studies have shown that a mindful approach to parenting can enhance a parent’s caregiving ability and self-awareness in the family unit.

Methods: A pretest/posttest study evaluated the effectiveness of a 6-week mindful parenting program. Four parents of adolescents with executive function deficits participated in six consecutive group sessions for 1.5 hr each, one time per week, to learn mindful strategies.

Results: Although most results were not found to be statistically significant, findings demonstrated promising trends for three of the parents. Statistically significant results indicated that one parent experienced improved communication with his or her adolescent, two had fewer concerns at school for their adolescent, three showed increased ability to problem-solve, one decreased his or her perfectionistic parenting skills, and one was more likely to be in the middle between the other parent and their adolescent.

Conclusions: Support for parents after program conclusion may be necessary to promote lasting change. Further research is needed with larger groups and longer periods to determine the effectiveness of mindfulness programs for parents with adolescents with executive functioning deficits.


This study was unfunded and completed in partial fulfillment for the requirements for the degree of occupational therapy doctorate at Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA. IRB approval was obtained from Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA

Disclosure statement: The authors report no conflicts of interest.