2023 Special Innovation Thesis Prize: Agata URBANOWICZ

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Agata URBANOWICZ received the 2023 special innovation Thesis Prize for her research work among PhDs graduating in 2022.

Thesis Title: Preventing and reducing parental burnout: A clinical trial of three interventions based on cognitive behavioural therapy, second wave positive psychology, and informal mindfulness practices

Agata URBANOWICZ  - Prix de thèse spécial innovation 2023Parental burnout is a context-specific syndrome characterised by four clusters of symptoms: (1) emotional and physical exhaustion related to parenting, (2) emotional distancing from the child, (3) decreased sense of self-efficacy and accomplishment in parental role, and (4) the perception of no longer being a good parent (Roskam et al., 2017, 2018). Considering the high prevalence of parental burnout (up to 9% in general population and up to 30% among the parents of chronically ill children) as well as its deleterious consequences for the parent, the couple, and for the child it appears crucial to implement preventive measures and treatment for parental burnout (Lindström et al., 2010; Mikolajczak, Brianda et al., 2018; Roskam et al., 2021). The present doctoral thesis contributes to the field of prevention and treatment of parental burnout and its deleterious consequences through the evaluation of the efficacy of psychological interventions in this context.
The first part of this doctoral thesis focuses on the identification and evaluation of already existing interventions for parental burnout. To this end, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the interventions addressed to parents of children with chronic diseases and parents from the general population. In the second part of the thesis, we focused on the evaluation of three psychological group interventions. To achieve this objective, we conducted a clinical trial of three interventions based on: (1) cognitive behavioural therapy; (2) second wave positive psychology; and (3) informal mindfulness practices. These three approaches seem to target psychological processes involved in the development and maintenance of parental burnout (e.g., perfectionism, ruminations, poor emotional skills; Kawamoto et al., 2018; Lin et al., 2021; Mikolajczak et al., 2018; Paucsik et al., 2021; Sorkkila & Aunola, 2020), as well as to promote protective factors which may contribute to the reduction of parental burnout severity (e.g., stress-management skills, self-awareness, self-compassion, self-efficacy, emotional competencies, psychological flexibility; Antoni et al., 2007; Brown & Ryan, 2003; Paucsik et al., 2021; Shankland et al., 2018, 2021). The three programmes, as well as their mechanisms of action, are presented in the sections dedicated respectively to each intervention study. Finally, the last part of the thesis is dedicated to the summary and general discussion of the findings and their implications.
The five studies presented in this doctoral thesis constitute independent articles : (1) A systematic review and meta-analysis of psychological interventions for parental burnout; (2) Cognitive Behavioural Stress Management (CBSM) for parents: prevention and reduction of parental burnout; (3) Acceptability of Cognitive Behavioural Stress Management Intervention for parental burnout reduction and prevention: a mixed methods approach; (4) Positive psychology in the prevention and reduction of parental burnout: the CARE programme; (5) Informal mindfulness practices, a new approach to the prevention and reduction of parental burnout.

Key Words: burnout; psychological interventions; meta-analysis; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Stress Management, positive psychology; mindfulness.

Doctoral School: ED SHPT – Humanities, Political and Territorial Sciences
Research laboratory: Laboratoire interuniversitaire de Psychologie/Personnalité, Cognition, Changement social (LIP/PC2S - UGA/USMB)
Thesis supervision: Aurélie GAUCHET and Rebecca SHANKLAND [Jaynie RANCE and Paul BENNETT, Swansea]
Cotutelle (joint PhD) : Swansea University

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Updated on  June 1, 2023