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ABSTRACT Research suggests that the life satisfaction of gender, racial, and sexual minorities is significantly lower than males, Whites, and individuals who identify as heterosexual, respectively. A disparity in life satisfaction between minority and majority groups needs to be addressed so that interventions may be developed to combat these inequalities. The present study explored whether mindfulness and/or acceptance moderated the relationship between minority status (gender, racial, sexual) and life satisfaction. For example, was the disparity in life satisfaction between racial minorities and Whites reduced as levels of mindfulness increased? Participants included 309 college students, age 18-25 from two southeastern universities. All data was collected during Summer and Fall 2014. The purpose of the present study was to explore mindfulness and acceptance as potential moderators in the relationship between minority status and life satisfaction, controlling for income, victimization, and health status (i.e., report of a mental health, substance condition, disability, or chronic illness), through two separate hierarchical regression analyses. Life satisfaction, mindfulness, and acceptance were measured by total scores on the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS; Diener, Emmons, & Larson, 1985), Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ; Baer et al, 2006), and the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II (AAQ-II; Hayes et al. 2004), respectively. Results suggested that college students' levels of dispositional mindfulness did not significantly moderate the relationship between minority status and life satisfaction. However, acceptance was found to significantly moderate the relationship between gender and life satisfaction, wherein as acceptance increased the difference in life satisfaction between male and female college students decreased. Additionally, the relationship between mindfulness and life satisfaction and acceptance and life satisfaction were explored through two bivariate correlation analyses. Results were consistent with previous literature suggesting mindfulness was significantly positively related to life satisfaction. College students who reported higher levels of dispositional mindfulness were found to have higher levels of life satisfaction. Additionally, college students who reported higher levels of dispositional acceptance were found to have higher levels of life satisfaction. Finally, the relationships between status (i.e., gender, race, and sexual orientation) and life satisfaction, controlling for health status, victimization, and income, were calculated through three ANCOVA analyses. Results suggested that male and female college students did not significantly differ in life satisfaction. LGBQ identified college students and heterosexual college students also were not found to significantly differ in life satisfaction. However, Black/African American/Afro-Caribbean college students were found to have significantly lower life satisfaction than White and Hispanic/Latino college students. None of the other race/ethnicities included in the study were found to significantly differ in life satisfaction. The implications of the present study's findings, limitations, and directions for future research are also presented.
gender, life satisfaction, mindfulness, quality of life, race, sexual orientation
Date of Defense
October 27, 2014.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Angela I. Canto, Professor Directing Dissertation; Deborah J. Ebener, Committee Member; Shengli Dong, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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