We posit that daily stressors exert a harmful impact on adolescents’ social-emotional health. Importantly, not all youth who experience these risks succumb to poor outcomes. We hypothesize that adolescents’ mindfulness, a state of consciousness involving a receptive attention to and awareness of present moment experiences, serves as a protective factor by helping youth regulate and cope with the negative emotional and behavioral correlates of daily hassles. Socio-economically diverse youth (N=150, M age=14.5 years) from two public high schools will complete mood, stressor, and mindfulness diaries for 14 consecutive days. Participants will also complete a battery of questionnaires assessing mindfulness, attentional control, coping strategies, and academic engagement. Finally, participants will complete a computerized test of working memory capacity (executive attention). Academic performance will be measured at 4 time points using grade point averages, attendance records, and disciplinary referrals. We predict that adolescents with higher mindfulness will report less emotional distress and fewer aggressive behaviors even in the face of daily hassles compared with adolescents lower in mindfulness. We also predict that adolescents with higher mindfulness will report engaging in more adaptive coping strategies compared with adolescents lower in mindfulness, which in turn will mediate the relations between mindfulness and positive outcomes.

Brian Galla

University of Pennsylvania