The relationship between mindfulness and emotional regulation in emerging adulthood
Van der Merwe, Sunelle
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Mindfulness, a multifaceted concept originally derived from Buddhist psychology (Kabat-Zinn, 1982), is a state of consciousness that emphasises observing and attending to current experiences, including inner experiences such as thoughts and emotions, with a non-judgemental attitude and acceptance (Bishop et al., 2004). Research has recently begun to explore the role of mindfulness as an important factor that might influence and foster adaptive emotional regulation (Bullis, Bøe, Asnaani, & Hofmann, 2014). However, what remains unclear and undefined is how mindfulness is specifically related to emotional regulation, especially in emerging adulthood. The aim of this study was therefore to explore (a) if a linear relationship exists between emerging adults' facets of mindfulness and emotional regulation; (b) the degree to which the five facets of mindfulness, namely observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-reactivity, and non-judging contribute to emotional regulation; and (c) whether this set of variables were able to contribute a significant amount of variance in emotional regulation if we controlled for the possible effect of gender. Participants consisted of an availability sample of 214 (135 female and 79 male) emerging adult students. Mindfulness was measured with the Five Facets of Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ; Baer, Smith, Hopkins, Krietemeyer, & Toney, 2006) and emotional regulation was measured with the Difficulties with Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS; Gratz & Roemer, 2004). Statistical data analyses, utilising SAS, revealed that four facets of mindfulness, namely describe, acting with awareness, non-judging, and non-reactivity are associated with difficulties with emotional regulation, and three of these facets (i.e. acting with awareness, non-judging, and non-reactivity) contribute independently to emotional regulation difficulties. Results revealed no practically significant differences between male and female participants’ levels of mindfulness and their difficulties with emotional regulation. In general, findings contribute to an enriched understanding of mindfulness as a construct, and the mechanisms through which mindfulness may foster adaptive emotional regulation. Although these findings are preliminary, they suggest that a specific focus on only three facets of mindfulness, namely acting with awareness, non-judging, and non-reactivity in mindfulness-based interventions, may foster adaptive emotional regulation.
- Health Sciences