Negative Cognitive Bias and Perceived Stress: Independent Mediators of the Relation Between Mindfulness and Emotional Distress
Although a growing body of research has demonstrated the benefits of mindfulness for depression and anxiety, the mechanisms by which mindfulness reduces emotional distress are unclear. At least two mechanisms have been proposed: reduced negative cognitive bias and stress reduction. Although both mechanisms have received initial support, these proposed mechanisms have not been examined concurrently. The present studies examined the extent to which less negative cognitive bias and less perceived stress uniquely accounted for the association between mindfulness and emotional distress. In two studies, participants completed measures of trait mindfulness, perceived stress, negative cognitive bias, depression, and anxiety. Across both studies, results from parallel multiple mediation models indicated that both negative cognitive bias and perceived stress accounted for unique variance in the mindfulness–emotional distress association. That is, greater mindfulness was related to less negative cognitive bias and less perceived stress, which in turn were associated with less emotional distress. The results suggest that both stress reduction and negative cognitive bias may be mechanisms by which mindfulness confers benefits to psychological well-being.
KeywordsMindfulness Cognitive negative bias Stress Anxiety Depression
CGF designed and executed the study, conducted data analysis, and wrote the paper. NJ collaborated with the design and execution of the study, consulted on data analytic procedures, and collaborated with writing and editing the manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of West Virginia University and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Informed Consent Statement
Informed consent was obtained from all participants before participation.
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