, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 176–186 | Cite as

Relating to Self and Other: Mindfulness Predicts Compassionate and Self-Image Relationship Goals

  • Kate L. Stewart
  • Anthony H. AhrensEmail author
  • Kathleen C. Gunthert


In three studies, we tested the hypothesis that mindfulness is associated with and predicts the relationship goals to be compassionate and to bolster one’s self-image. In the first two studies, both cross-sectional, mindfulness was associated with higher compassionate goals and lower self-image goals. Study 3 replicated these findings both before and after a 2-week daily diary exercise. In addition, mindfulness at pretest predicted change in compassionate and self-image goals over the course of the study. Aggregating across studies, controlling for negative affectivity, mindfulness, and several of its facets were uniquely associated with compassionate goals. Mindfulness and non-judging of experience were each uniquely associated with lower self-image goals. These findings suggest that how people relate to their own experiences—namely, the extent to which they attend to present-moment experiences without judgment—is associated with their intentions toward others.


Mindfulness Compassionate goals Self-image goals Relationship goals 



We thank Joanna Anderson, Laura Brown, Courtney Forbes, Hana Le, Emily Maher, Elin Ryd, Sharon Shih, and Lauren Skalina for their assistance in various aspects of this project.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate L. Stewart
    • 1
  • Anthony H. Ahrens
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kathleen C. Gunthert
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyAmerican UniversityWashingtonUSA

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