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Associations between mindfulness and mental health after collective trauma: results from a longitudinal, representative, probability-based survey

  • Lorenzini, Jay Andrew
  • Wong-Parodi, Gabrielle
  • Garfin, Dana Rose
Publication Date
May 03, 2024
eScholarship - University of California
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Background/objectivesTrait mindfulness (TM) may protect against post-trauma mental health ailments and related impairment. Few studies have evaluated this association in the context of collective traumas using representative samples or longitudinal designs.Design/methodWe explored relationships between TM and collective trauma-related outcomes in a prospective, representative, probability-based sample of 1846 U.S. Gulf Coast residents repeatedly exposed to catastrophic hurricanes, assessed twice during the COVID-19 outbreak (Wave 1: 5/14/20-5/27/20; Wave 2: 12/21/21-1/11/22). Generalized estimating equations examined longitudinal relationships between TM, COVID-19-related fear/worry, hurricane-related fear/worry, global distress, and functional impairment; ordinary least squares regression analyses examined the cross-sectional association between TM and COVID-19-related posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) at Wave 1. Event-related stressor exposure was explored as a moderator.ResultsIn covariate-adjusted models including pre-event mental health ailments and demographics, TM was negatively associated with COVID-19-related fear/worry, hurricane-related fear/worry, global distress, and functional impairment over time; in cross-sectional analyses, TM was negatively associated with COVID-19-related PTSS. TM moderated the relationship between COVID-19 secondary stressor exposure (e.g., lost job/wages) and both global distress and functional impairment over time.ConclusionsResults suggest TM may buffer adverse psychosocial outcomes following collective trauma, with some evidence TM may protect against negative effects of secondary stressor exposure.

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