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Circle of Security Intervention Enhanced with Mindful Self-Compassion (COS-MSC): A Mixed Methods Study

Tuyen N Huynh, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Decades of empirical research corroborate the importance of parenting to children’s development. Therefore, it is critical to identify ways to enhance existing parenting programs such as the Circle of Security-Parenting (COS-P; Powell et al., 2013)—an eight-week attachment-based program— to target parenting and child outcomes, concurrently, in the intervention design. The goal of this longitudinal, mixed methods study was to examine the effectiveness of an enhanced version of COS-P program with mindful self-compassion (COS-MSC) at directly promoting positive parents’ well-being, and in turn improve parenting and child outcomes. Data were collected across three-time points: Time 1 (baseline); Time 2 (post-assessment); and Time 3 (delayed post-assessment). Sixty-five Nebraskan parents (n=35 COS-P, n = 30 COS-MSC) participated in either the COS-P or the COS-MSC intervention. COS-MSC parents and children were slightly older than the COS-P families. Majority of the sample were married and a biological parent of the target child in the study. COS-P group consisted of parents who identified as White or Hispanic, whereas COS-MSC parents were mostly White. Path analyses revealed COS-P and COS-MSC families improved in different dimensions of parent well-being and parenting as a function of the intervention. COS-MSC parents improved in mindfulness at Times 2 and 3, whereas COS-P parents did not. Neither COS-P or COS-MSC parents quantitatively improved in self-compassion, positive parenting, and child outcomes as a function of the intervention. Qualitative findings corroborated the significant quantitative results and provided support for COS-MSC program improving parent self-compassion, positive parenting, and child outcomes. COS-MSC facilitators found the enhanced program feasible and acceptable to implement and COS-MSC parents had positive perceptions of the program impacting their parenting and parent-child relationship.

Subject Area

Psychology|Individual & family studies|Behavioral psychology

Recommended Citation

Huynh, Tuyen N, "Circle of Security Intervention Enhanced with Mindful Self-Compassion (COS-MSC): A Mixed Methods Study" (2020). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI28086335.