Adolescents' Core Self-Evaluations as Mediators of the Effect of Mindfulness on Life Satisfaction

By Tan, Jianfeng; Yang, Wu et al. | Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, January 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Adolescents' Core Self-Evaluations as Mediators of the Effect of Mindfulness on Life Satisfaction


Tan, Jianfeng, Yang, Wu, Ma, Hongwei, Yu, Yulan, Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal


Adolescence is an important developmental phase when individuals need to face new challenges (Antaramian, Huebner, & Valois, 2008). Adolescence is a period that is distinct from childhood and adulthood, and individuals at this stage of development are vulnerable to mental health problems (see e.g., Johnstone, Rooney, Hassan, & Kane, 2014) and risk-taking behaviors (see e.g., Lambert et al., 2013). Most importantly, negative life-experience outcomes that occur in the adolescent period are associated with lower levels of life satisfaction. Life satisfaction refers to one's subjective appraisal of the quality of one's life (Diener, Suh, Lucas, & Smith, 1999) and is important for strengthening adolescents' adaptive development (Antaramian et al., 2008).

One prominent finding in regard to adolescent life satisfaction that has been made in recent years is that mindfulness-that is, the state of being attentive to, and aware of, what is taking place in the present (Brown & Ryan, 2003; Wang & Kong, 2014)-exerts a significantly positive effect on their satisfaction (Schonert-Reichl & Lawlor, 2010). For example, it has been found that adolescents with a higher level of mindfulness reported greater life satisfaction than did their counterparts who had a lower level of mindfulness (Brown, West, Loverich, & Biegel, 2011). Wang and Kong (2014) suggested that mindfulness is conducive to emotional intelligence, which helps individuals regulate their emotions more effectively, thereby promoting life satisfaction. As a result, it is plausible to infer that adolescents' life satisfaction will be enhanced through mindful-awareness practices (e.g., meditation).

In addition to mindfulness, another variable that has consistently been shown to have a positive association with life satisfaction is core self-evaluations. Core self-evaluations are conceptualized as a broad personality construct that is constituted by self-esteem, locus of control, neuroticism, and general self-efficacy (Judge, Van Vianen, & De Pater, 2004). Individuals with positive core self-evaluations hold the view that they control the events that happen in their life, and these people generally report high self-esteem and self-efficacy, and they also tend to be more emotionally stable than those with less positive core self-evaluations (Judge et al., 2004). This being so, it is not surprising that researchers have reported findings that core self-evaluations are strongly correlated with life satisfaction (see e.g., Song, Kong, & Jin, 2013).

Core self-evaluations are related to how an individual views himself or herself (Song et al., 2013), and should be correlated with mindfulness. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that core self-evaluations might be one of the mechanisms by which mindfulness exerts a positive effect on the individual's life satisfaction. In support of this assumption, in a recent study, Kong, Wang, and Zhao (2014) suggested that core self-evaluations fully mediated the relationship between mindfulness and life satisfaction. That is, once core self-evaluations are controlled, the positive association between mindfulness and life satisfaction becomes insignificant. This research finding seems to suggest that the self-evaluative process of people with high mindful awareness is more positive than is the self-evaluative process of people with lower mindful awareness, which would finally translate into greater life satisfaction for those with high mindful awareness.

According to Kong et al. (2014), mindfulness may enhance one's self-compassion, which, thus, exerts a positive influence on the view that an individual has of himself or herself. Consequently, an individual's higher level of mindfulness will result in more positive core self-evaluations, thereby improving that person's satisfaction with his or her life. Although some researchers have investigated the association between mindfulness and life satisfaction (e. …

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