Date of Award

Summer 8-3-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

PhD Counseling Psychology

Department

Professional Psychology and Family Therapy

Advisor

Daniel Cruz, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Minsun Lee, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Matthew Graziano, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Adriana Dunn, Ph.D.

Keywords

Mindfulness, meaning in life, executive functioning, positive reappraisal.

Abstract

Although dispositional mindfulness has been associated with positive outcomes in the broader mental health literature, less is known about dispositional mindfulness in older adults as it relates to factors important in successful aging, such as meaning in life. This study investigated the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and meaning in life, while taking into consideration older adults’ available cognitive resources and use positive reappraisal. The primary purpose of this study was to determine if the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and meaning in life was mediated by executive function and positive reappraisal. Additionally, this study examined the moderation effect of perceived level of stress.

To investigate processes within a proposed theoretical framework, a sample of older adults (N=47) were assessed across various measures, including dispositional mindfulness, meaning in life, perceived stress, positive reappraisal as well as a number of executive functions (i.e., working memory, cognitive flexibility and inhibition). Dispositional mindfulness significantly predicted use of positive reappraisal strategies, but was not found to play a significant role in the executive functions or the presence of meaning in life. Stress did not moderate the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and executive functions. Limitations, implications and future directions are discussed.

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