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25-07-2016 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 6/2016

Mindfulness 6/2016

Associations Among Dispositional Mindfulness, Self-Compassion, and Executive Function Proficiency in Early Adolescents

Mindfulness > Uitgave 6/2016
Hee-Sung Shin, David S. Black, Eleanor Tate Shonkoff, Nathaniel R. Riggs, Mary Ann Pentz


The study objective was to examine the effects of two conceptually related constructs, self-compassion and dispositional mindfulness, on executive function (EF) proficiency among early adolescents. Executive function refers to a set of psychological processes governing emotional regulation, organization, and planning. While the benefits of positive psychology appear evident for mental health and wellness, little is known about the etiological relationship between dispositional mindfulness and self-compassion in their associations with EF. Two hundred and ten early adolescents attending middle school (age M = 12.5 years; SD = 0.5; 21 % Hispanic, 18 % mixed/bi-racial, 47 % white, and 9 % other/missing; 37.1 % on free lunch program) self-reported levels of dispositional mindfulness (Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS)), self-compassion (Self-Compassion Scale (SCS); self-judgment and self-kindness domains), and EF proficiency (Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function–Self-Report (BRIEF-SR)). A sequential linear regression stepwise approach was taken entering the independent variables as separate models in the following order: self-kindness, self-judgment, and dispositional mindfulness. All models controlled for participant age and sex. SCS self-kindness was not associated with EF proficiency, but SCS self-judgment (reverse-coded) contributed to the variance in EF (β = 0.40, p < .001). When adding MAAS to the model, MAAS scores were significantly associated with EF (β = 0.64, p < .001) and accounted for the initial variance explained by SCS. When considering the influence of positive psychology constructs on EF proficiency in adolescents, the measure of dispositional mindfulness appears to outweigh that of specific self-compassion domains, when independent of contemplative training.

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