Examining the Decoupling Model of Equanimity in Mindfulness Training: An Intensive Experience Sampling Study

Adi Shoham, Yuval Hadash, Amit Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although Buddhist thought and contemporary psychological science have theorized that equanimity may be a critical outcome and salutary mechanism of action of mindfulness, empirical evidence is limited. Eighty-two meditation-naive adults (52% female; Mage = 25.05 years, SD = 3.26 years) from the general community participated in a 3-week, six-session mindfulness training intervention. Prior to and then over the course of the intervention, in the contexts of daily living and mindfulness meditation, we collected 52 digital experience samples (2–3/day). Mixed-linear models permitted analysis of data much like 82 single-subject multiple-baseline experimental design data sets. The practice and cultivation of mindfulness states were associated with elevations in manifestations of equanimity (i.e., elevated willingness and decreased hedonic-based avoidance), which were robust to spontaneous subjective stress as well as experimentally evoked idiographic negative self-referential thoughts. Mindfulness may therefore function to decouple desire (wanting and not wanting) from the hedonic tone of experience (pleasant and unpleasant).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)704-720
Number of pages17
JournalClinical Psychological Science
Volume6
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We recognize the funding support of the Israeli Science Foundation (ISF). A. Shoham and Y. Hadash recognize the support from the University of Haifa President’s Doctoral Fellowship Program.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.

Keywords

  • acceptance
  • avoidance
  • desire
  • equanimity
  • experience sampling
  • meditation
  • mindfulness
  • mindfulness mechanisms
  • self-referential
  • stress
  • willingness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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