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Previous research has found inconsistent relationships between trait mindfulness and state mindfulness. To extend previous research, we sought to examine the unique associations between self-report trait mindfulness and state mindfulness by levels of meditation experience (meditation-naïve vs. meditation-experienced) and by mindfulness induction (experimentally induced mindful state vs. control group). We recruited 299 college students (93 with previous mindfulness meditation experience) to participate in an experiment that involved the assessment of five facets of trait mindfulness (among other constructs), followed by a mindfulness induction (vs. control), and followed by the assessment of state mindfulness of body and mind. Correlational analyses revealed limited associations between trait mindfulness facets and facets of state mindfulness, and demonstrated that a brief mindfulness exercise focused on bodily sensations and the breath elicited higher state mindfulness of body but not state mindfulness of mind. We found significant interactions such that individuals with previous meditation experience and higher scores on the observing facet of trait mindfulness had the highest levels of state mindfulness of body and mind. Among individuals with meditation experience, the strengths of the associations between observing trait mindfulness and the state mindfulness facets increased with frequency of meditation practice. Some other interactions ran counter to expectations. Overall, the relatively weak associations between trait and state mindfulness demonstrate the need to improve our operationalizations of mindfulness, advance our understanding of how to best cultivate mindfulness, and reappraise the ways in which mindfulness can manifest as a state and as a trait.
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- When Traits Match States: Examining the Associations Between Self-Report Trait and State Mindfulness Following a State Mindfulness Induction
Adrian J. Bravo
Matthew R. Pearson
Adam D. Wilson
- Springer US