Low-income populations are at a disproportionately high risk for various physical and emotional disorders. One factor that has received little attention in its link to health among low-income groups is dispositional mindfulness. Dispositional mindfulness has been associated with better health in college undergraduate and predominantly higher-income Caucasian samples. Understanding the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and health among low-income populations may be helpful for developing effective programs. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to assess the relationship between the facets of mindfulness and various health domains in a low-income community sample.
Participants were 256 community members (55.9% female) from a small town in Upstate New York, and 51.6% of the sample had a household income of less than $20,000 a year. After informed consent was obtained, participants completed the following questionnaires: The Medical Outcomes Study Short Form Survey, Perceived Stress Scale, Lubben Social Network Scale-Revised, Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, and a demographic and health behavior questionnaire.
After controlling for health and psychosocial variables, there was a significant effect of the non-judging and non-reactivity facets of mindfulness on emotional health. The acting with awareness facet of mindfulness was associated with social functioning. However, dispositional mindfulness was not associated with physical health.
Dispositional mindfulness plays a significant role in emotional health and social functioning among low-income adults. Mindfulness-based programs may be beneficial for this demographic if focused on the enhancement of non-judgment, non-reactivity, and acting with awareness.