Association of mindfulness with psychological distress and life satisfaction in Western and Eastern meditators

Taylor and Francis
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Psychology, 2021, 73, (4), pp. 486-498
Issue Date:
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Objective: This study investigated if meditators living in India (Eastern Meditators: EMs) differed from those living in Western countries (WMs) in self-reported levels of mindfulness, depression, anxiety, stress, and life satisfaction and the association between these variables. Method: The 229 participants (18–81 years, M = 34.7 years, SD = 13.3; 52% EMs) completed scales measuring depression, anxiety, stress, life satisfaction, and mindfulness and its components. Results: WMs indicated significantly higher levels of acceptance and non-judging than EMs, but similar levels of mindful attention. For EMs, mindful attention was negatively associated with acceptance and non-judging, while for WMs these variables were not associated. WMs reported lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress than EMs but the groups did not differ in levels of life satisfaction. Multiple regression analyses showed that, for both WMs and EMs, acceptance explained significant proportions of the variance in depression, anxiety, and stress. Acceptance and non-judging explained significant proportions of the variance in life satisfaction for WMs, but only mindful attention did so for EMs. Conclusions: Results suggest that Western and Eastern conceptualisations of mindfulness and associated meditation practices may differ in critical ways. There is a need to develop valid mindfulness scales for use in Eastern collectivist cultures.
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