Do Demographic Variables Moderate the Impact of Mindfulness on Stress?

Ellexa Menezes, HSD

Massachusetts General Hospital
Do Demographic Variables Moderate the Impact of Mindfulness on Stress?

Scientific Abstract

Background: Mindfulness is associated with decreased stress, but we don’t know how demographic variables moderate this relationship. To fill this gap we examined the moderating effect of age, sex, and race on the association between mindfulness and perceived stress in participants in an online study of mindfulness

Methods: We recruited 4,412 participants from 19 Patient-Powered Research Networks (PPRN) in a study funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to compare a brief, 3-session online mindfulness intervention to a longer, 8-session mindfulness intervention. We examined the baseline scores of perceived stress and mindfulness in 126 participants in the MoodNetwork, one of the PPRNs focused on improving the lives of individuals with mood disorders. Mindfulness and perceived stress were assessed by self-report using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), respectively. We used a simple linear regression analysis to examine the association of mindfulness and stress as well as to examine the effects of moderators (sex, age, race) on this relationship.

Results: Participants (N=126) were 88% female and 85% white with a mean age of 49 years (range=21 to 89). Mindfulness had a significant negative correlation with perceived stress (B =

-0.41, 95% CI [-0.50, -0.32]). We found that age (B = 0.0005, 95% CI [-0.50, -0.32]), sex (B = 0.17, 95% CI [-0.50, -0.32]), and race (B = -0.07, 95% CI [-0.50, -0.32]) did not significantly moderate this association.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that individuals with higher levels of mindfulness may experience less stress regardless of age, sex, and race. These results have limited generalizability given the over-representation of white and female participants. Further research is necessary to investigate the moderating effect of demographic variables on the mindfulness-stress relationship in a more generalizable population.

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research Areas


Ellexa Menezes, HSD, Noah French, BA, Audrey Stromberg, BA

Principal Investigator

Andrew A. Nierenberg, MD