Cognitively-Based Compassion Training for parents reduces cortisol in infants and young children

Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, Ashleigh Engbretson, Abra B. Vigna, Lindsay A. Weymouth, Cynthia Burnson, Carolyn Zahn-Waxler, Amita Kapoor, Emily D. Gerstein, Kerrie A. Fanning, Charles L. Raison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This study tests a group-based secular contemplative practice intervention, Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT), with parents of young children. We report on a randomized controlled preliminary efficacy study. Certified teachers administered CBCT for 20 hr across 8 to 10 weeks in two cohorts of parents with infants and young children. The intervention group was compared to a waitlist control group. Thirty-nine parents and their children, who ranged in age from 4 months to 5 years, were evaluated at pre- and postintervention (n = 25 intervention, n = 14 waitlist control) on hair cortisol concentration. Parents also completed self-administered questionnaires at both time points regarding demographics, physical symptoms of stress, parenting stress, self-compassion, and mindfulness. Children of parents in the CBCT group experienced significant decreases in cortisol at the postintervention assessment, as compared with the control group. However, parent cortisol and self-report measures did not significantly change other than a small effect on clinical levels of parenting stress. CBCT may be a positive new way to intervene with parents to lower infants’ and young children's cumulative physiological stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-144
Number of pages19
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Cortisol
  • Eltern
  • Intervention
  • Stress
  • Säuglinge
  • cortisol
  • cortisol
  • cortisol
  • estrés
  • infantes
  • infants
  • intervención
  • intervention
  • intervention
  • nourrisson
  • padres
  • parents
  • parents
  • stress
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Cognitively-Based Compassion Training for parents reduces cortisol in infants and young children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this