A Multidimensional View of Social Wellbeing in Adulthood: Mindfulness and the Mediating Role of Motivation
Methods: This study used data from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS), 2004-2006. MIDUS is a nationally representative survey examining the effects of midlife development on the self-reported physical health, psychological wellbeing, and social wellbeing of adults aged 25 to 75. Data were collected through the use of a telephone interview and a questionnaire mailed to 4963 respondents. Measures of mindfulness, persistence in goal striving, and social wellbeing were gathered through self-report surveys. A latent path analysis was used to test the theoretically-based structural model and the Sobel method was used to test mediation.
Results: Structural equation modeling results showed that the model under study displayed an excellent fit to the data (CFI = 0.95, RMSEA = 0.04, 90% CI = .038 - .053). As hypothesized, mindfulness was positively related to persistence in goal striving (ß = 0.215, p = .001) and persistence in goal striving was positively related to social wellbeing (ß = 0.086, p = .001). In addition, the relationship between mindfulness and social wellbeing was fully mediated by persistence in goal striving (indirect estimate = 0.016, p= .001).
Implications: Greater levels of mindful awareness may give rise to the ability to self-regulate motivational states and persist in goal-striving. As self-regulation theory predicts, the ability to regulate motivational states ultimately enhances social functioning and social integration. This study supports the notion that mindfulness may increase individuals’ capacity to contribute to society and find meaning in social participation through the mechanism of self-regulated motivation. Mindfulness has been shown to be modifiable and is strengthened through structured exercises. Mindfulness-based interventions may develop self-regulatory skills that can enhance motivational structures and positively impact individuals’ level of social wellbeing.