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Mindfulness has been theoretically and empirically associated with psychological health. One commonly investigated mechanism underlying the association between mindfulness and psychological health is adaptive coping. Despite research demonstrating the relationship between trait mindfulness and averaged use of adaptive (and maladaptive) coping strategies, little work has examined the potential association between mindfulness and flexibility in coping. Among various conceptualizations, coping flexibility can be operationalized in terms of within-situational coping variability, referring to the extent of use of different strategies to varying degrees in a given situation, and within-strategy temporal variability, which refers to the extent of use of a particular coping strategy across different situations over time. Using a diary study approach, the present study examined the association between trait mindfulness and the two forms of coping variability. One hundred and ninety-two undergraduates from a Singaporean university were recruited and administered questionnaires and diary logs, in which they reported on use of seven different coping strategies in response to six stressors sampled over a period of 3 weeks. Consistent with hypotheses, factor analysis differentiated within-situational coping variability, within-strategy temporal variability, and averaged use of adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies as distinct constructs. Higher trait mindfulness was associated with lower ruminative self-criticism and greater use of adaptive coping. Importantly, trait mindfulness predicted higher within-situational coping variability, over and above personality traits as well as the average use of adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies. Overall, the study lends support to the idea that mindfulness facilitates adaptive coping in the context of daily life and provides preliminary evidence for the association between mindfulness and greater coping flexibility.
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- Association between Trait Mindfulness and Variability of Coping Strategies: a Diary Study
Eddie M. W. Tong
- Springer US