UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mindfulness and self-compassion : exploring stability and relations to cognitive, social, and emotional indicators across one school year in a group of early adolescents Lawlor, Molly Stewart


Research examining mindfulness and self-compassion in relation to well-being has grown over the past decade, with the majority of studies focused on these constructs in adults. As such, there is limited research that examines these constructs in children. To address the gap, the purpose of the study was to investigate trait mindfulness and self-compassion in early adolescents at three times over one school year. Aims of the study were: (1) to examine grade and gender difference for mindfulness and self-compassion in early adolescents, (2) to examine stability and change of early adolescents’ mindfulness and self-compassion over one school year, determine whether there are grade and gender differences in these trajectories, and to examine associations between the two constructs over time, and (3) to examine the degree to which early adolescents’ mindfulness and self-compassion at the beginning of the school year is associated with dimensions of their social, emotional, and cognitive competence at the end of the school year. Results indicated that there was limited variability in the trajectories of both mindfulness and self-compassion over the course of one school year. Investigation of grade and gender differences revealed a significant difference in self-compassion across grades, with grades 5 students reporting significantly higher self-compassion scores than grade 7 students. The relationship between the constructs was observed to be stable, with significant positive correlations reported at each of the three time points. Correlational analyses revealed a significant and positive relation between Time 1 mindfulness and Time 3 peer ratings of prosocial behaviour. Mindfulness at Time 1 was found to be negatively and significantly associated with negative affect at Time 3. Self-compassion at Time 1 was significantly and positively associated with positive affect and life satisfaction at Time 3. Given the current discussion regarding the factor structure of the Self-Compassion Scale (Neff, 1993), self-compassion was examined as two separate constructs (self-compassion and self-coldness) and findings revealed significant associations between the two dimensions of self-compassion and well-being. Findings are discussed in relation to extant theoretical and empirical research in this area and directions for future research are put forth.

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