Mindful and Mutual Care for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities: A Systematic Literature Review

Hwang, Yoon-Suk; Kearney, Patrick
April 2014
Journal of Child & Family Studies;Apr2014, Vol. 23 Issue 3, p497
Academic Journal
Parental and professional caregivers of individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) often experience stress and hardship associated with their role, placing them in real danger of burnout and affecting their quality of care. Mindfulness practice is currently being applied to address these issues. We conducted a systematic literature review to explore the effects of mindfulness practice and analyse the intervention and methodological features used for eliciting these effects. An initial search produced 386 publications. Of these, seven met the selection criteria of intervention studies that applied mindfulness to parental and professional caregivers of individuals with DD. We found, from analysis of seven studies, direct effects of mindfulness practice for practitioners (i.e., parental and professional caregivers) and crossover effects for individuals with whom these practitioners interacted (i.e., their children and care recipients). The studies under review collectively suggest that the practice of mindfulness in everyday life over significant periods of time can both improve the experience of care providers and support them in providing a better standard of care for care recipients. Limitations of current mindfulness intervention studies and some implications for future studies are discussed to strengthen the application of mindfulness for individuals influenced by DD.


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