Date of Original Version




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Abstract or Description

It has been proposed that dispositional mindfulness and mindfulness meditation training helps individuals become more attentive and aware of their inner processes and behavior. Yet we know very little about how mindfulness training reduces stress and the underlying mechanisms for these effects. The present study investigated several mechanisms of mindfulness and stress reduction by conducting secondary data analyses on 3-day mindfulness training study that included a Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) stress reactivity session after the 3-day training. This previous study showed that brief mindfulness meditation training reduced psychological stress reactivity while increasing salivary cortisol to the TSST. In the present study, we coded behavioral emotion regulation responses (via recorded videos) to the TSST. We tested two competing accounts for how dispositional mindfulness and mindfulness training affect stress reactivity, comparing emotional reactivity (showing less negative affect) and emotional expression (showing less emotional suppression). Results supported the emotion expression account, a significant training condition × dispositional mindfulness interaction on anger to the TSST was observed (β = 1.703, t(61) = 1.941, p = .057). Specifically, participants higher in dispositional mindfulness, who had also received mindfulness training had the greatest response to the TSST. We also tested for other behavioral accounts, including anxiety, confidence, and overall speech rating, but did not find any significant effects for mindfulness training, dispositional mindfulness, and their interaction. We conclude that mindfulness meditation training fosters greater emotion-focused coping efforts through emotional expression, which can help buffer stress.


Advisor: David Creswell

Department of Psychology