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Meditation May Reduce Stress in Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities

amana images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Mothers of children with developmental disabilities may be able to reduce their increased stress, anxiety and depression by learning to meditate.

According a study published in the journal Pediatrics, mothers of children with autism or other neuro-developmental conditions who received "Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction," a program that included breathing, meditation and movement techniques, saw greater improvement in depression, anxiety, sleep and life satisfaction.

Researchers selected 243 mothers of children with developmental disabilities and assigned half of them to receive the stress reduction regimen, and the other half to receive "Positive Adult Development." The latter plan involved training with peer mentors to develop coping strategies.

While both programs were linked to reduced stress, researchers say the program that included breathing and meditation lessons was more effective. The study highlights the effectiveness of "mindfulness" in coping with stress, but also notes that peer mentoring can improve the lives of parents as well.

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