Maternal stress is associated with a myriad of maladjusted outcomes among children. To identify the role of mindful parenting between mothers’ stress and child adjustment during the COVID-19 pandemic, this study tested competing hypotheses with mothers’ mindful parenting as a mediator versus a moderator.
A total of 172 Chinese mothers of preschool-aged children participated in this study. Participants completed a self-report measure of stress during COVID-19 and mindful parenting, as well as a mother-report measure of children’s prosocial behavior, internalizing problems, and externalizing problems. Structural equation models were conducted to examine the mediation versus moderation effects of mindful parenting between mothers’ stress during COVID-19 and child adjustment, after controlling for family income, children’s age, sex, and adjustment at baseline.
Findings indicated that mindful parenting mediated the link between mothers’ stress during COVID-19 and child adjustment, including internalizing problems, externalizing problems, and prosocial behavior. A test of competing hypothesis showed that mindful parenting did not moderate between mothers’ stress during COVID-19 and child adjustment.
This study revealed the mediating effects of mindful parenting between mothers’ perceived stress during COVID-19 and child adjustment. The findings inform researchers and practitioners about mindful parenting as a potential mechanism between maternal stress and child adjustment during the pandemic.