Self-Regulation Mechanisms Explain How Dispositional Mindfulness Promotes Well-Being

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Christie Lundwall
Sara Fairborn
Laura Quinones-Camacho
Justin Estep
Elizabeth Davis


Most empirical studies of mindfulness have focused on the relation between mindfulness and decreased maladaptive outcomes (e.g. depression, anxiety, somatization disorders), and relatively fewer have examined the mechanisms linking dispositional mindfulness with adaptive outcomes such as well-being (e.g., happiness, life satisfaction, and positive affect). The goal of this study was to address this gap in our understanding by testing a theoretical model in which two distinct types of self-regulation (goal-directed self-regulation and cognitive emotion dysregulation) and perceived stress would mediate the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and well-being in a sample of 442 young adults. As hypothesized, goal-directed self-regulation partially mediated the relation between dispositional mindfulness and well-being. Additionally, self-regulation variables fully mediated the link between dispositional mindfulness and perceived stress. There was also an indirect relation between goal-directed self-regulation and well-being, through perceived stress. When these mediators were included in the model, the direct relation between dispositional mindfulness and well-being became smaller but was still present. Further, the hypothesized multi-step mediation model fit significantly better and improved the data fit indices versus the single-step mediation model comparator. Taken together, these data supported a meaningful role of self-regulatory processes and perceived stress in explaining the role of dispositional mindfulness in promoting well-being.

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