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Research indicates that mindfulness is linked to higher-order neurocognitive control processes, and the associated executive functions and self-regulation capacities needed in daily life. The current study examines the roles of executive function and self-regulation in the link between dispositional mindfulness and well-being using a multi-method, two-phase longitudinal design. Two multiple mediator models were tested in a sample of 77 undergraduate students. Self-regulation independently mediated the relationship between mindfulness and positive affect; however, both executive function and self-regulation independently mediated the relationship between mindfulness and negative affect. The mindfulness facets of acting with awareness and non-judgment were most strongly related to executive function and well-being outcomes, while describing and acting with awareness were most strongly related to self-regulation. Performance-based neurocognitive control was related to self-regulation and positive affect, and a test of inhibition/shifting was related to executive function in daily life. Thus, students who are more dispositionally mindful than their peers tend to be non-judgmental and act with awareness, rather than on automatic pilot, which may engage executive functions and self-regulation.

Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) improve depression symptoms after traumatic brain injury (TBI), with medium to large effect sizes. The goal of this study was to determine the clinical significance of individual changes in depression symptoms by examining data from three studies. Three criteria were used to assess the clinical significance of pre- to post-treatment change in Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) scores: (1) reliable change to account for measurement error, (2) five-point change to detect minimally important clinical differences, and (3) severity change to measure the severity of depression symptoms. The number of participants who met all three of these criteria (i.e., the three-criterion standard) was calculated for (a) all MBI participants across the three studies (N = 90) and for (b) only participants who completed the randomized controlled trial (study 3). According to the three-criterion standard, 50 % of TBI participants had BDI-II scores that clinically improved (45/90) and none had scores that deteriorated. When this standard was applied to study 3, more participants in the treatment group (20/38) had improved scores compared to controls (13/38). The majority of all participants also showed clinically improved BDI-II scores according to each of the separate criteria: reliable change (64/90), five-point change (49/90), and severity change (51/90). We suggest that (a) the three-criterion standard be considered the gold standard for assessing treatment-related change in depression symptoms, and (b) reporting the clinical significance of individual change may be more informative to clinicians when assessing the impact of MBIs on clients with TBI compared to findings based exclusively on group averages.