Through mindful colored glasses? The role of trait mindfulness in evaluating interactions with strangers
Number of pages
SourceJournal of Social and Personal Relationships, 40, 5, (2023), pp. 1520-1539
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI SCP
SW OW PsKI [owi]
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being
Converging evidence shows that mindfulness is associated with various indicators of interpersonal behavior and well-being. Although promising, the effects of mindfulness should ultimately be expressed during interpersonal interactions and observed by interaction partners. The current study assessed the associations between trait mindfulness, interpersonal stress, and interpersonal perceptions during stressful interpersonal tasks between strangers. Sixty-seven same sex stranger dyads (134 individuals; all females) participated in a laboratory study. Trait mindfulness was measured via an online questionnaire. In the lab, participants were asked to engage in two tasks with a stranger: (1) a stressful interaction task (they were asked to introduce themselves standing only 27 cm apart) and (2) a joint coordination task. Afterwards, both partners’ levels of interpersonal stress and interpersonal perceptions (i.e. liking of the interaction, perceived attentiveness, and perceived coping) were assessed. Results of Actor Partner Interdependence Models (APIM) showed a negative association between trait mindfulness and experienced interpersonal distress. Trait mindfulness was positively associated with liking of the interaction, perceived attentiveness and perceived coping. Actors' trait mindfulness was positively associated with the partners' liking of the interaction (marginally significant), but no other partner effects were found. There was no association between trait mindfulness and performance on the joint coordination task. The current findings underscore the importance of studying trait mindfulness dyadically. In actual interpersonal interactions, trait mindfulness positively affects interaction experiences of actors, but we found little support for a transfer to experiences of interaction partners. We discuss the implications of these findings in light of several theoretical models.
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