The mindfulness stress buffering account posits mindfulness may benefit physical health by reducing stress. Previous research supports this account and suggests the non-judging facet of mindfulness may be most strongly associated with physical symptoms of stress, via lower perceived stress. The current replication study used structural equation modeling to analyze relationships between multiple facets of mindfulness, perceived stress, and physical symptoms of stress.
Undergraduate students (n = 534, 68% White, 65% female) completed surveys measuring trait mindfulness (Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire—Short Form), perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale), and physical symptoms of stress (Cohen-Hoberman Inventory of Physical Symptoms).
As hypothesized, results showed the negative relationship between four facets of mindfulness (describing, non-judging, non-reactivity, and acting with awareness) and physical symptoms of stress was partially mediated by lower perceived stress. Observing, however, was associated with more physical symptoms of stress.
The current findings successfully replicated the results of two previous studies in an independent sample, using a more parsimonious analytic strategy that included all variables in a single path model. Results confirm the stress-buffering effect of trait mindfulness, particularly non-judging. Future research may test whether changes in trait mindfulness, particularly non-judging, explain individual differences in objective measures of stress and physical health.