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We assessed college students' mindfulness skills (Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire; Baer, Smith, Hopkins, Krietemeyer, & Toney, 2006) and depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory-II; Beck, Steer, & Brown, 1996) early in the semester and during midterms and finals, two periods of likely academic stress. As predicted, acting with awareness, nonreactivity, and nonjudging were inversely related to depressive symptoms over the course of the semester. In contrast, observing was directly related to depressive symptoms at time one and two. The mindfulness skill of describing failed to show any significant relation to depressive symptoms during the semester. When we considered all four mindfulness skills simultaneously, nonreactivity and nonjudging skills underpinned the inverse relation between mindfulness and depressive symptoms across all time periods. High levels of observing were only associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms when individuals were low in nonreactivity. Accordingly, mindfulness skills may mitigate depressive symptoms because they promote objectively and nonreactively, thereby counteracting rumination.
Two studies examined the role of mindfulness in romantic relationship satisfaction and in responses to relationship stress. Using a longitudinal design, Study 1 found that higher trait mindfulness predicted higher relationship satisfaction and greater capacities to respond constructively to relationship stress. Study 2 replicated and extended these findings. Mindfulness was again shown to relate to relationship satisfaction; then, using a conflict discussion paradigm, trait mindfulness was found to predict lower emotional stress responses and positive pre- and postconflict change in perception of the relationship. State mindfulness was related to better communication quality during the discussion. Both studies indicated that mindfulness may play an influential role in romantic relationship well-being. Discussion highlights future research directions for this new area of inquiry.