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20-02-2018 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 5/2018

Mindfulness 5/2018

Mindfulness and Young Adult Dating Relationship Stability: a Longitudinal Path Analysis

Mindfulness > Uitgave 5/2018
Alexander Khaddouma, Kristina Coop Gordon


Mindfulness refers to the ability of the individual to purposefully bring attention and awareness to the experiences of the present moment and relate to them in a non-reflexive, non-judgmental way. A growing body of evidence indicates that mindfulness can promote more satisfied romantic relationships and healthier relationship functioning; however, current models of how mindfulness contributes to romantic relationship processes focus almost exclusively on satisfaction as the primary outcome. Thus, whether mindfulness promotes greater relationship stability (i.e., likelihood for remaining intact vs. dissolving) remains unknown. The present study sought to address this issue by examining the longitudinal associations between romantic partners’ levels of trait mindfulness, relationship satisfaction, and relationship stability in a sample of 188 young adult unmarried different-sex dyads (n = 376 individuals). Utilizing a dyadic framework and multifaceted measure of mindfulness, multiple actor-partner interdependence models were used to examine the associations between male and female partners’ levels of overall mindfulness and facets of mindfulness, relationship satisfaction at 30 days post-baseline, and relationship dissolution status (intact vs. dissolved) at 90 days post-baseline. Results indicated that only female partners’ levels of overall mindfulness, observing of experience, acting with awareness, and nonreactivity to inner experience were associated with greater relationship stability (i.e., lower likelihood for relationship dissolution), though neither mindfulness nor any facet was associated with female partners’ relationship satisfaction. In contrast, male partners’ levels of describing with words and acting with awareness were associated with their own post-baseline satisfaction, but not with greater relationship stability. Female partners’ nonreactivity to inner experience was the only facet associated with the satisfaction of their partner. Results should be considered preliminary until additional studies can replicate these findings given high participant attrition rates at study follow-up time points. Findings from the present study contribute potentially novel insights into the role of mindfulness in the longitudinal satisfaction and stability of romantic relationships and increased clarity about which aspects of mindfulness might be most important for promoting relationship stability in young adult dating relationships.

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