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19-03-2018 | Original Paper | Uitgave 7/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 7/2018

Relationship of Mindfulness to Distress and Cortisol Response in Adolescent Girls At-Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 7/2018
Amanda Skoranski, Nichole R. Kelly, Rachel M. Radin, Katherine A. Thompson, Ovidiu Galescu, Andrew P. Demidowich, Sheila M. Brady, Kong Y. Chen, Marian Tanofsky-Kraff, Jack A. Yanovski, Lauren B. Shomaker


Altered stress response theoretically contributes to the etiology of cardiometabolic disease. Mindfulness may be a protective buffer against the effects of stress on health outcomes by altering how individuals evaluate and respond to stress. We engaged adolescent girls at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes in a cold-pressor test in order to determine the relationship of dispositional mindfulness to cortisol response and subjective stress, including perceived pain and unpleasantness during the stressor, and negative affect following the stressor. We also evaluated mindfulness as a moderator of psychological distress (depressive/anxiety symptoms) and stress response. Participants were 119 girls age 12–17 years with overweight/obesity, family history of diabetes, and mild-to-moderate depressive symptoms. Greater mindfulness was associated with less perceived pain and negative affect, but was unrelated to cortisol response to the stressor. Regardless of mindfulness, greater depressive/anxiety symptoms related to a more blunted cortisol response. Mindfulness might promote better distress tolerance in adolescents at risk for diabetes by altering how youth perceive and relate to acute stress, rather than through altering the physiological stress response. At all levels of mindfulness, depressive/anxiety symptoms relate to greater blunting of cortisol response. Findings contribute to emerging literature on the role of mindfulness in promoting the mental and physical health and well-being of individuals at risk for Type 2 diabetes.

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