Mindful awareness involves intentionally attending to the present moment without judgment. In the past 30 years, it has been demonstrated that teaching people to be mindful yields positive effects and reduces the symptoms of a variety of physical and psychological disorders (Brown, Ryan, & Creswell, 2007; Kabat-Zinn, 1982). While mindfulness is an ancient practice, it has only been empirically researched for the past 30 years. In this time, much has been learned about the beneficial effects of mindfulness. However, many questions remain regarding the mechanism by which mindfulness brings about its beneficial effects and how the trait of mindfulness relates to other psychological traits. Self-report measures such as the Mindful-Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS;
Brown & Ryan, 2003) have made it possible to measure trait mindfulness and to compare it to other psychological traits. One trait of particular interest is self-esteem. Brown and Ryan (2003) demonstrated that trait mindfulness is positively correlated with self-esteem and have hypothesized that mindfulness leads to secure, non-contingent self-esteem. Another study has demonstrated that teaching mindfulness to counseling students leads to an increase in both trait mindfulness and satisfaction with life (Collard, Avny, & Boniwell, 2008). In this dissertation, statistical techniques were used to gain a better understanding of the relationship between trait mindfulness, self-esteem, and satisfaction with life. It was hypothesized that self-esteem would mediate the relationship between mindfulness and satisfaction with life. In this dissertation a structural equation model (James, Muliak, & Brett, 2006) was used to test the hypothesis that self-esteem mediates the relationship between mindfulness and satisfaction with life among a sample of 365 college students. The results of the analysis supported the mediation hypothesis. Further, this research supports the theory that some of the beneficial effects of mindfulness may be related to the relationship between mindfulness and self-esteem. Implications of the results of this dissertation and recommendations for further research are discussed.
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