Mindful Parenting: Promoting Attachment Security and Adaptive Emotion Regulation in Foster Children

Brian Denietolis (2010)

The following dissertation project outlines a strategy for exploring the effects of mindful foster parenting on foster youths' capacity for attachment security and adaptive emotion regulation. Through a comprehensive literature review and conceptual framework, I argue that the deleterious long-term effects of foster-care may be related to foster children's histories of attachment insecurity and its associated emotion regulation deficits. It is further postulated that mindful foster parents may be the healing agents required to help foster youth experience secure love and attachment for the first time, thereby placing them on the path of earned attachment security. Seven research questions and their associated hypotheses are offered to explore the effects of the Mindful Parenting Program on foster children's attachment and emotion regulation. A detailed program evaluation strategy is then offered, along with a recommended strategy for analyzing the resulting data. The dissertation concludes with a chapter delineating the many complexities inherent in community-based outcome research. Recommendations are also offered to remediate these challenges.