Examining the Influence of Self-compassion Education and Training Upon Parents and Families When Caring for their Children: A Systematic Review

Shwikar Othman1, *, Mary Steen1, 2, Dianne Wepa1, 3, Lois McKellar1, 4
1 UniSA Clinical and Health Sciences, University of South Australia, City East Campus, Centenary Building, North Terrace, Adelaide 5000, SA
2 Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Coach Lane Campus, University of Northumbria, Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE7 7XA. United Kingdom
3 Faculty of Health Studies, University of Bradford, Bradford, United Kingdom
4 School of Health and Social Care, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburg, United Kingdom

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Creative Commons License
© 2022 Othman et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the UniSA Clinical and Health Sciences, University of South Australia, City East Campus, Centenary Building, North Terrace; Tel: +0470626813; E-mail:



It is well-recognized that early parenting significantly influences the health and well-being of children. However, many parents struggle with the daily demands of being a parent and feel overwhelmed and exhausted psychologically and physically. Encouraging self-care practices is essential for parents, and self-compassion may be a potential strategy to utilize.


The review aims to assess the influence and impact of providing self-compassion education for parents and families when caring for their children.


This systematic review utilized Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) methodology. A three-stage search approach was undertaken that included seven electronic databases, registries and websites. These databases are Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, Emcare, Cochrane library, Scopus, and ProQuest. The included studies were appraised using the standardized critical appraisal instruments for evidence of effectiveness developed by JBI.


Ten studies met the inclusion criteria. Overall, the studies confirmed improved psychological well-being, and higher levels of self-compassion, kindness towards oneself and others, and mindfulness were reported. In addition, there were improvements in psychological well-being, decreased parental distress and perceived distress, lower levels of anxiety, and avoidance of negative experiences.


The findings provide evidence to guide further research on developing, designing, facilitating, and evaluating self-compassion education programs and workshops for parents and families.

PROSPERO registration

This systematic review title is registered at the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews: CRD42021225021.

Keywords: Self-compassion, Parents, Families, Children, Systematic review, Parenting.