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Exploring the relationship between parent and adolescent dispositional mindfulness and adolescent mental health




Friedman, Terra S., author
Shomaker, Lauren, advisor
Lucas-Thompson, Rachel, advisor
Johnston, Sarah, committee member

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Internalizing symptoms, including depression and anxiety symptoms, increase during adolescence, a sensitive life stage for forming coping strategies for handling stress. Adolescent internalizing symptoms have been related to a host of negative health outcomes, yet dispositional mindfulness, the propensity for present-moment, non-judgmental attention, has been associated with lower levels of internalizing symptoms. From a social learning framework, parents' own dispositional mindfulness is anticipated to relate to adolescent's degree of dispositional mindfulness. In the current thesis, I conducted secondary data analyses to explore the hypotheses that parental and adolescent dispositional mindfulness would be positively related, that there would be inverse relationships of parent dispositional mindfulness with adolescent perceived stress and anxiety/depression symptoms, and that parent mindfulness would contribute uniquely to variability in adolescent mental health indicators, even when accounting for adolescents' own mindfulness. Participants were 90 healthy adolescents (50% female), 12–17 years old (Mean = 14.3, SD = 1.7 years). Parental and adolescent dispositional mindfulness were evaluated using the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale. Adolescents reported stress on the Perceived Stress Scale and anxiety symptoms using the State Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children – Trait Version. They reported depression symptoms on the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D). Results of correlation and regression analysis found expected relationships based on prior literature between parent internalizing symptoms and parent mindfulness, and adolescent internalizing symptoms and adolescent mindfulness, but found no statistically significant connection between parent dispositional mindfulness and adolescent internalizing symptoms. Findings suggest more research needs to be conducted in this area to understand the mechanisms of dispositional mindfulness and internalizing symptoms in the context of family functioning. Future studies should focus on including more comprehensive measures of mindfulness and integrating an attachment framework into the research design.


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Embargo Expires: 08/22/2024



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