International Publication: Relating mindfulness and self-control to harm to the self and to others (PAID)


Our study is published in July 2014, in Personality and Individual Differences (Elsevier). doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2014.02.015

We conducted a web-based study exploring the dynamics of self-reported mindfulness and self-control towards aggression and self-harm. Individuals who deal with intense emotions may ruminate on these emotions, or use thought suppression as an attempt to stop rumination. Because both strategies may paradoxically increase the intensity and frequency of negative emotions, some individuals might then engage in harmful behaviours to distract themselves. In contrast, individuals who mindfully monitor their emotions may be better attuned to when self-control is required before impulsive reactions occur.

As predicted, participants who were more mindful and more self-controlled reported being less aggressive and self-harmless. Bootstrap analyses supported the mediating role of self-control on the association between mindfulness and aggression and self-harm. These findings suggest that people who are naturally predisposed to monitor the “in-the-moment” experience could be less harmful towards themselves and others due partly to their high capacity in self-control.

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