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Trait Mindfulness Moderates the Relationship Between Depressive Affect and Negative Cognitions Among College Students

25 July 2008


Affect induction research examining the causal pathways to developing and maintaining major depression has demonstrated a strong link between depressive affect and negative cognitions. Mindfulness has recently been incorporated into several psychotherapy interventions to disrupt the ruminative processes hypothesized to exacerbate transient dysphoric emotional states into substantial pathological conditions such as depression. The literature on depressive cognitions and rumination was reviewed to demonstrate the unique role mindfulness attention to experience may play in the disruption of known pathological cognitive pathways. Buddhist conceptualizations llS well as recent psychological operationalizations of mindfulness were reviewed to more fully present the construct. The primary hypothesis was that trait mindfulness would moderate the strong relationship between depressive affect and negative cognitions. Depressive affect, mindfulness, and the interaction between these two variables were used to predict negative cognitions. All three were significant predictors, such that negative affect was positively related to negative cognitions, mindfulness was negatively related to negative cognitions, and mindfulness significantly moderated the strength of the relationship between depressed affect and negative cognitions. Theoretical and treatment implications are discussed.


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