Preliminary Evidence for Infusing Mindfulness, Yoga and Parenting Education Training on the Resilience-building Capacity for Incarcerated Fathers
Background and Purpose: Research has shown correlations between mindfulness, yoga and reduced risky behaviors among incarcerated and high-risk populations. Research has also shown that yoga can increase positive mental and physical health. Purpose: The present study extends current knowledge by combining a parenting program with yoga instruction in a 12-session series delivered to incarcerated fathers. We hypothesized that participants' resilience and parenting knowledge would increase from beginning to end of program. Methods: Using three measures for parental resiliency and one program scale for parenting, we assessed pretest to posttest changes in 65 of 112 criminal justice-involved fathers who completed a parenting curriculum that includes yoga and mindfulness instruction. Results: Participants significantly improved on two of three measures of resilience: overall Self Compassion Scale (SCS), and overall Whole Person Scale (WPS), which includes a total of three of six SCS subscales and three of four WPS subscales, from pretest to posttest; and on a parenting scale (Fit2bFathers Program Scale). Conclusion: The study provides preliminary evidence that a parenting program with yoga instruction may be an effective intervention for high-risk populations where parenting skills may be limited or stressed.