A large body of research has shown that mindfulness training can improve individual well-being. However, effects on the prosocial qualities expressed in real-life interpersonal relationships are mixed, and the biobehavioral mechanisms underlying such potential effects remain largely unknown. We propose to address this gap by studying how prenatal mindfulness training tailored to focus on family relationships impacts the way mothers relate to their infants. In particular, we will examine differences between women who have completed the Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP) program during pregnancy and those who have not had such training on both neural and behavioral measures of (a) presence with and (b) compassionate love for their child. This research will help to further understanding of how mindfulness practice benefits not only the individual, but also interpersonal relationships and the well-being of subsequent generations.

Heidemarie Laurent, PhD

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


I completed my doctoral training in Clinical Psychology with a developmental focus at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, followed by a clinical internship at the University of Washington Medical … MORE

Larissa Duncan, PhD

University of Wisconsin at Madison


My program of research involves applying basic science findings on mindfulness, maternal-child health, parent-child relationships, and developmental processes to the design of intervention programs that integrate contemplative practices with prevention … MORE