Association between Trait Mindfulness and Variability of Coping Strategies: a Diary Study
Mindfulness has been theoretically and empirically associated with psychological health. One commonly investigated mechanism underlying the association between mindfulness and psychological health is adaptive coping. Despite research demonstrating the relationship between trait mindfulness and averaged use of adaptive (and maladaptive) coping strategies, little work has examined the potential association between mindfulness and flexibility in coping. Among various conceptualizations, coping flexibility can be operationalized in terms of within-situational coping variability, referring to the extent of use of different strategies to varying degrees in a given situation, and within-strategy temporal variability, which refers to the extent of use of a particular coping strategy across different situations over time. Using a diary study approach, the present study examined the association between trait mindfulness and the two forms of coping variability. One hundred and ninety-two undergraduates from a Singaporean university were recruited and administered questionnaires and diary logs, in which they reported on use of seven different coping strategies in response to six stressors sampled over a period of 3 weeks. Consistent with hypotheses, factor analysis differentiated within-situational coping variability, within-strategy temporal variability, and averaged use of adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies as distinct constructs. Higher trait mindfulness was associated with lower ruminative self-criticism and greater use of adaptive coping. Importantly, trait mindfulness predicted higher within-situational coping variability, over and above personality traits as well as the average use of adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies. Overall, the study lends support to the idea that mindfulness facilitates adaptive coping in the context of daily life and provides preliminary evidence for the association between mindfulness and greater coping flexibility.
KeywordsMindfulness Adaptive coping Maladaptive coping Variability of coping styles Coping flexibility
The authors would like to acknowledge Benjamin Yi Xin Wong for assisting with the data collection in this study. The authors would also like to thank all the participants for participating in this study.
SLK conceptualized and designed the study and wrote the paper. XC implemented the study, and collaborated with the design and writing of the study. EMWT analyzed the data, wrote the results, and collaborated in the writing and editing of the final manuscript.
This study did not receive any funding.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was approved by National University of Singapore’s institutional review board.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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