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Promotion of Well-Being by Raising the Awareness on the Interdependent Nature of All Matters: Development and Validation of the Interconnectedness Scale

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Abstract

Objectives

The present study aimed to develop and validate the Interconnectedness Scale and examined the relationship of interconnectedness with various indicators of well-being, mindfulness, and nonattachment. It also aimed to examine the incremental value of interconnectedness in accounting for well-being above and beyond the effects of mindfulness and nonattachment.

Methods

Three studies were conducted to achieve the study objectives. In study 1, principal component analysis (PCA; n = 325) and confirmatory factor analyses (CFA; n = 581) were employed to establish the factor structure of the Interconnectedness Scale. Study 2 (n = 194) established the convergent validity for the scale by examining the correlations between interconnectedness and variables related to (a) individual well-being, (b) psychological distress, (c) social justice ideologies, and (d) secularized Buddhist-derived concepts. Study 3 (n = 176) investigated the relationship between interconnectedness, nonattachment, and mindfulness. Their relationships with various indicators of well-being were also examined.

Results

Study 1 found a three-factor structure that was confirmed by bi-factor analysis. Study 2 showed that interconnectedness was significantly associated with (a) peace of mind, mental well-being, and social connectedness (rs = 0.29 to 0.41, ps < 0.01); (b) civic engagement, egalitarianism and humanitarianism, and universalism (rs = 0.45 to 0.49, ps < 0.01); (c) perceived stress, anxiety, and depression (rs = − 0.26 to − 0.32, ps < 0.01); and (d) compassion, mindfulness, nonattachment, and self-transcendence (rs = 0.46 to 0.52, ps < 0.01). Study 3 showed that nonattachment was a significant mediator for both mindfulness and interconnectedness on various indicators of well-being. Interconnectedness also had significant incremental value over mindfulness and nonattachment mainly on social justice ideologies.

Conclusions

Interconnectedness is a distinct Buddhist-derived concept that can further explain well-being and social justice ideologies in addition to mindfulness and nonattachment.

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Funding

The study was supported by a direct grant from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Ref. No. 4052068) and funding from the CUHK-NCKU Joint Research Center for Positive Social Science (Ref. No. 3132564) by The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Author information

BCLY designed and executed the study. He was also responsible for data analysis and manuscript writing. WWSM conceptualized and coordinated the entire study and contributed to manuscript writing and revisions. FHNC assisted in data analysis and contributed to manuscript writing and revisions.

Correspondence to Winnie W. S. Mak.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethics Approval

Ethical standards set forth by the Survey and Behavioral Research Ethics Committee, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, are followed in conducting the study. The study was performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.

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

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Yu, B.C.L., Mak, W.W.S. & Chio, F.H.N. Promotion of Well-Being by Raising the Awareness on the Interdependent Nature of All Matters: Development and Validation of the Interconnectedness Scale. Mindfulness (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-020-01334-5

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Keywords

  • Interconnectedness
  • Scale validation
  • Well-being
  • Social justice
  • Buddhist psychology
  • Mindfulness
  • Nonattachment