The mediating role of boredom proneness and the moderating role of meaning in life in the relationship between mindfulness and depressive symptoms

  • Xiujuan Yang
  • Cuiying Fan
  • Qingqi Liu
  • Shuailei Lian
  • Min Cao
  • Zongkui ZhouEmail author


A growing body of research has demonstrated that mindfulness can effectively alleviate depressive symptoms. However, few studies to date have investigated how mindfulness links to depressive symptoms from the perspective of attention. Moreover, it remains unknown under what conditions mindfulness links to depressive symptoms. To fill in these gaps, this study examined boredom proneness as a possible mediator and meaning in life as a possible moderator of the link between mindfulness and depressive symptoms. A sample of 746 college students (Mage = 19.23; SDage = 1.06) in China completed the self-report questionnaires of mindfulness, boredom proneness, depression, and meaning in life. Results of mediation analysis showed that boredom proneness partially mediated the association between mindfulness and depressive symptoms. Moderated mediation analyses further revealed that the indirect effect of mindfulness on depressive symptoms via boredom proneness was moderated by presence of meaning and search for meaning (two components of meaning in life), respectively, with the indirect effect being stronger for individuals with lower levels of presence of meaning/search for meaning. These findings broaden our understanding of the psychological processes that underlie the association between mindfulness and depressive symptoms, and offer practical guidance on relieving depressive symptoms. Limitations and implications of these findings are discussed.


Mindfulness Boredom proneness Depressive symptoms Meaning in life Presence of meaning Search for meaning 



This study was funded by Major Program of National Social Science Foundation of China (Project No. 11&ZD151) and Research Program Funds of the Collaborative Innovation Center of Assessment toward Basic Education Quality at Beijing Normal University (Project No. 2019-04-003-BZPK01).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional (Central China Normal University) and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiujuan Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cuiying Fan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qingqi Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shuailei Lian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Min Cao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zongkui Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Adolescent Cyberpsychology and Behavior (CCNU), Ministry of EducationWuhanChina
  2. 2.School of PsychologyCentral China Normal UniversityWuhanChina

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