Peer Mentoring Helps Reduce Caregiver Stress

Caregivers of children with developmental disabilities often experience greater stress than parents of typically-developing kids. A new study published online last week in the journal Pediatrics demonstrates that more attention needs to be paid to the needs of parents of children with developmental disabilities.

The study randomly assigned 243 mothers of children with disabilities to one of two interventions led by well-trained, supervised peer mentors who received four months of training on the curriculums.  The peer mentors were other mothers of children with disabilities who led 6 weeks of group treatments in 1.5-hour weekly sessions.

For the two treatment groups some parents were assigned to a mindfulness based stress reduction program others to a positive psychology based program. Results showed that mothers in both groups benefitted from the peer-led treatment programs. The researchers conclude more attention ought to be paid to address the unmet mental health needs of parents of children with developmental disabilities.

To read more about this study see the article published by the New York Times, “When the Caregivers Need Healing”.