Mindfulness and rumination as predictors of distress tolerance

Feldman, G., Dunn, E., Stemke, C., Bell, K., & Greeson, J. (2013). Mindfulness and rumination as predictors of persistence with a distress tolerance task. Personality and Individual Differences. In press.

Highlights & Abstract:

  • Low distress tolerance (DT) has been linked to a range of psychological disorders.
  • Individual differences associated with DT have received limited research.
  • Higher mindful awareness and reflection predicted greater DT in this study.
  • Interventions that teach mindful awareness and reflection skills may enhance DT.

Distress tolerance (DT) is a proposed transdiagnostic factor in psychopathology, yet sources of individual differences in DT are largely unknown. The present study examined mindfulness and rumination facets as predictors of persistence on a standardized DT task (mirror tracing). Acting with awareness (a facet of mindfulness) and reflection (a potentially adaptive form of rumination) predicted increased DT. Increased task-induced skin conductance reactivity predicted decreased DT.

These results held after controlling for task skill and subjective and heart rate reactivity. Together, these results suggest that teaching skills to promote mindful awareness and reflection hold promise as interventions to enhance DT.

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