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Title: Exploring the feasibility, suitability, and benefits of an arts-based mindfulness program for adolescent mothers 
Authors: Oystrick, Vivian
Keywords: Adolescent mothers;mindfulness;arts-based methods;parenting;group work;online group work;scoping review
Issue Date: 14-Jun-2023
Abstract: There is a growing interdisciplinary body of research on adolescent motherhood that offers perspectives from sociology, social work, education, psychology, and health disciplines. Researchers have highlighted that many adolescent mothers experience high levels of psychological distress which is often attributed to the challenges of parenting with daily stress, limited support, and cumulative disadvantage. As a result, achieving maternal sensitivity can be a challenge for many adolescent mothers due to their developmental stage, and the stresses in their lives. Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) are increasingly being used to help improve parenting, prevent chronic parenting stress, and break the cycle of dysfunctional parenting patterns and behaviors. However, there is limited research that explores the suitability of this type of intervention with this population. The aim of my research was to explore the feasibility and benefits of an arts-based mindfulness intervention program for adolescent mothers. My research process began with a scoping review of the literature to explore how mindfulness and arts-based methods have been studied with the adolescent parenting populations. The search did not yield any articles that described the use of MBIs with the adolescent parenting population. However, I identified 10 articles in which authors described arts-based parenting interventions with adolescent mothers. Participants from these studies reported that engaging in arts-based activities enabled them to develop ways to positively interact with their children, resulting in greater attunement to their children. The second phase of this research project involved exploring the feasibility and suitability of an online arts-based mindfulness program for adolescent mothers during the COVID19 pandemic. This paper describes my experiences, challenges, and thoughts on the suitability of offering arts-based mindfulness programs online to adolescent mothers. Several challenges were encountered with respect to engagement and facilitation including high attrition rates and numerous disruptions during programming. The last phase of my research explored the feasibility, suitability, and benefits of offering an arts-based mindfulness program to adolescent mothers in person. In the third paper, I describe the experiences of nine adolescent mothers who attended an 11-week arts-based mindfulness program. From my findings, I concluded that arts-based mindfulness group programs are an effective way to engage adolescent mothers in interventions that help them develop supportive relationships, positive coping strategies, and improved awareness of themselves and their children. My research has direct implications for service delivery and for the development of care models for adolescent mothers that go beyond a focus on physical health, to a more holistic approach to assessment and intervention.
Appears in Collections:Human Studies and Interdisiplinarity - Doctoral Theses

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