Stress, Health, and Mindfulness: Exploring Relationships and Mechanisms Using Self-Report Measures
Foster, K. C. (2007). Stress, Health, and Mindfulness: Exploring Relationships and Mechanisms Using Self-Report Measures (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2389
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2389
The relationship between stress and physical health has been well established in the medical and psychological literature. Mindfulness meditation is a practice that has been successfully used to reduce stress in several populations, and the construct itself has recently begun to be measured as a naturally occurring characteristic. A recent study demonstrating the significant relationships between mindfulness, stress, and physical health prompted the investigation in the present study of the possible mechanisms underlying these relationships. It was hypothesised that the relationship between mindfulness and physical health would be largely mediated by stress, and that in addition, mindfulness would explain a significant proportion of the variance in health after stress had been accounted for. Participants were 129 undergraduate students who completed a battery of self-report questionnaires including the Perceived Stress Scale, the Short-Form 36 Health Survey, and two recently developed measures of mindfulness; the Mindful Attention and Awareness Scale and the Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills. Perceived stress was shown to account for a large proportion of the relationship between mindfulness and health, and mindfulness was also shown to explain a significant proportion of the variance in physical health after stress had been controlled for. An additional finding was that acceptance demonstrated stronger relationships with both physical and mental health than any of the other components of mindfulness studied. Potential mechanisms of mindfulness that may help explain these findings are discussed.
The University of Waikato
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