Cognitive and Emotional Associations of Mindfulness in Older Adults
AuthorPolsinelli, Angelina Jantina
AdvisorGlisky, Elizabeth L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractResearch demonstrates that mindfulness in younger and middle-aged adults is associated with cognitive and emotional benefits. Mindfulness in older adults is less frequently studied but given the overlap between cognitive and emotional benefits of mindfulness and domains of age-related decline, this may be an important population to investigate. The present set of three studies had three aims: 1) to establish the validity of the Five Faceted Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) as a measure of mindfulness in an older adult population (Study 1); 2) to examine the cognitive and emotional associations of dispositional mindfulness (as assessed by the FFMQ and breath counting, a behavioral measure of mindfulness) in older adults (Study 2); and 3) to investigate the cognitive and emotional benefits of a brief online mindfulness training for older adults (Study 3). Concurrent goals of these studies were to examine the specificity of the FFMQ facets for predicting behavior (to examine the multifaceted nature of mindfulness) and to address the recent call in the field of mindfulness research for greater methodological rigor. To address the latter, we used objective measures of mindfulness, cognition, and emotional functioning and in our third study, a well-matched, active control condition. Results suggest that the five facets of the FFMQ hold in an older adult population (Study 1), that dispositional mindfulness is modestly associated with some aspects of attention, executive functioning, and emotion regulation (Study 2), and that mindfulness training may improve attention and increase facets of mindfulness (although this was not specific to our mindfulness condition; Study 3). We also found some mixed evidence for the specificity of the facets in predicting cognitive and emotional functioning (Study 2). We did not find that the breath counting task predicted any domains of functioning nor did accuracy on this task improve after training. These preliminary data are interesting but require replication and we are cautious about over-interpreting them given that our samples were small and analyses under-powered.
Degree ProgramGraduate College