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18-02-2020 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 5/2020

Mindfulness 5/2020

Trait Mindfulness Moderates the Longitudinal Association of Family Financial Strain with Perceived Cognitive Difficulties

Mindfulness > Uitgave 5/2020
Yao Sun, Chun Bun Lam, Kevin Ka Shing Chan, Jian-Bin Li, Kevin Kien Hoa Chung
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According to the information processing theory, financial strain may occupy cognitive resources and impede cognitive functions. On the other hand, a framework of stress and coping suggests that certain personal characteristics may moderate the negative impact of stress. The goal of the present study was to examine whether trait mindfulness moderated the longitudinal association of family financial strain with perceived cognitive difficulties, including perceived difficulties in attention, executive functions, and memory.


At two time points separated by about 12 months, 418 college students (35% were male; mean age = 19.93 years at Time 1) from a university in Hong Kong, China, provided questionnaire data. To test trait mindfulness as a moderator, hierarchical regressions and follow-up simple slope analyses were performed.


Controlling for demographic factors, the interaction between family financial strain and trait mindfulness predicted changes in perceived cognitive difficulties over time: Family financial strain was linked to increases in perceived difficulties in attention and executive functions. However, such links were only significant for participants with low, but not high, trait mindfulness. The interaction between family financial strain and trait mindfulness was nonetheless not significant for perceived difficulties in memory.


Theoretically, our findings highlighted the roles of both family financial strain and trait mindfulness in understanding changes in perceived cognitive difficulties in young adulthood. Practically, our findings pointed to the potential utility of targeting individuals’ mindfulness to protect them from the negative impact of family financial strain.

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