Session Abstract: Background and purpose. Research indicates a positive association between relationship satisfaction and mindfulness; less clear are the specific processes associated with mindfulness that may affect relationship satisfaction and stability. Building on a theoretical model proposed by Karremans, Schellekens, and Kappen (2015), this study explored the relationships between conflict, affect, and relationship satisfaction and the moderating effects of trait mindfulness and emotion regulation in a group of young adults and young adult couples. Based on previous research and theory, it was hypothesized that mindfulness and capacity for regulating one's emotions would moderate the relationship between conflictual events and subsequent affective reactions.

Subjects. Subjects included a group of non-clinical young adult undergraduate students at a large university as well as couples from the community (N = 200).

Methods and materials. Participants were asked to complete baseline personality measures assessing trait mindfulness, difficulties regulating emotions, and overall relationship satisfaction. Using an ecological momentary assessment (EMA) design, participants were also required to submit a daily diary with assessments of conflict as well as affect and behavior throughout the conflictual interaction each day for fourteen consecutive days.

Analyses. The primary hypotheses for this study were analyzed using multilevel models (MLM) to deal with non-independent data.

Results. Individuals with higher trait mindfulness reported lower levels of anger during playful conflict and attenuated decreases in relationship satisfaction in the context of greater conflict relative to participants reporting low mindfulness. Individuals with higher trait mindfulness reported lower levels of rejection and sadness and attenuated decreases in relationship satisfaction, all in the context of greater conflict. Findings regarding the role of emotion regulation were less robust, highlighting especially salutary effects of mindfulness.

Conclusions. Together, findings indicate the overall benefits of mindfulness for coping with conflict, managing feelings of distress, maintaining pro-relationship motivation and behavior, and overall relationship satisfaction.

Corresponding Author: Liza Rimsky, PhD | Long Island University, Brooklyn

Presentation 1 Title: Trait Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, and Relationship Satisfaction in Daily Life

Presenters: 

Liza Rimsky, PhD | Long Island University, Brooklyn

Savannah C. Grier, MA | Long Island University, Brooklyn

Hyung Ji Kim, MA | Long Island University, Brooklyn

Sara Chiara Haden, PhD | Long Island University, Brooklyn

Nicole Cain, PhD | Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology

Kevin B. Meehan, PhD | Long Island University, Brooklyn

Dr. Liza Rimsky

Liza Rimsky, Ph.D. is a recent graduate from the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Long Island University, Brooklyn and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at The Motherhood Center of New York.

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