Contemplative abilities including self-compassion, mindfulness, and related constructs such as distress tolerance are associated with adolescent psychological wellbeing. Yet how adolescents vary in contemplative abilities, and how such variations differ as a function of demographics, remains unclear. The present study sought to determine how many profiles of “contemplative capacities” exist among adolescents, how the profiles differ on demographics (i.e., gender, age, minority status, father and mother education) and adolescent psychological well-being (i.e., depression, anxiety, stress, life satisfaction, and resilience), and how differences in psychological well-being are moderated by demographics (i.e., gender, age, minority status, father and mother education).
Data were collected from 789 middle and high school students. Profiles of adolescent “contemplative capacities” were determined using adolescent self-reported self-compassion, mindfulness, and distress tolerance within a latent profile analysis.
Three “contemplative capacities” (CC) profiles fit the data best: Profile 1: Moderate CC (n = 340); profile 2, High CC (n = 262); and profile 3, Low CC represents (n = 148). Profiles differed on gender, age, minority status, and father education. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests were conducted to examine mean difference among the high, moderate, and low CC profiles. The three profiles differed on all psychological well-being outcomes, with high CC reporting greatest psychological well-being, followed by moderate CC, and then low CC. Lastly, CC profiles differed on indicators of psychological well-being as a function of gender and minority status.
Variations exist among adolescents’ contemplative abilities and such differences are associated with demographic factors and psychological well-being.