Pittman, Laura D.
Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)
Department of Psychology
Clinical psychology; Women's studies
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) argues that psychological distress is partially due to engagement in behaviors that are not aligned with one's values. Mothers often experience psychological distress associated with their roles as parents, and this distress is negatively associated with child and family outcomes. Experimental research has shown that ACT-based values interventions can increase values-consistent behaviors, but this research has not yet been replicated in the parenting context. To address this, two brief, online, ACT-based values interventions were compared to a control task. One intervention aimed to help mothers reflect on their parenting-specific values, and the other intervention aimed to help mothers reflect on their general life values. It was predicted that mothers who experienced the parenting-specific intervention would report greater parenting-related valued living and a greater decrease in parenting hassle stress 10-16 days than those who did not experience that intervention. Conversely, it was predicted that mothers who experienced the general values intervention would report greater general valued living and a greater decrease in daily hassles stress at Time 2 (T2) than those who did not experience that intervention. It was also hypothesized that those in the values interventions conditions would report decreased negative affect and increased positive affect over time than those in the control condition. A total of 188 mothers, who were recruited from Amazon's Mechanical Turk and met inclusion criteria, were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: parenting-specific values (PVC), general values (GVC), and control (CC). Most hypotheses were unsupported. However, results showed that mothers in the PVC and CC reported decreases in parenting hassle stress that differed from those in the GVC at T2. Results also unexpectedly showed that mothers in the PVC reported a decrease in positive affect at T2 compared to those in the CC. Certain design factors may have contributed to the general lack of significant findings. Nevertheless, the results support the assertion that a parenting-specific values intervention impacts maternal perceptions of stress related to parenting hassles. Future research should continue investigating how values interventions may influence maternal functioning.
Holmberg, Nicole J., "Online values intervention for mothers : associations with valued living, affect, and stress" (2018). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 4196.
Northern Illinois University
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