|Year : 2014 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 29-36
Personality correlates of mindfulness: A study in an Indian setting
Praseeda Menon, Suchitra Doddoli, Sukriti Singh, Ranjit S Bhogal
Department of Scientific Research, Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute, Lonavala, Maharashtra, India
|Date of Web Publication||22-Sep-2014|
Dr. Praseeda Menon
Department of Scientific Research, Kaivalydhama Yoga Institute, Swami Kuvalayananda Marg, Lonavala - 410 403, Maharashtra
Background: Mindfulness has received consistent attention from researchers in the last few decades due to its positive effects on physical and mental health, psychological well-being, as well as several therapeutic outcomes. In an attempt to discern its dispositional source, researchers have also looked at its relation with personality traits.
Aims: The current study aims to carry the above effort ahead by looking at the relation of mindfulness to the big-five personality traits in the Indian context in an exploratory way to give some amount of cross-cultural validity to established relations in the Western context.
Methods: The current study adopted the method of correlational research to fulfill the above aim.
Results: Results of the current investigation on 60 plus Yoga students supported earlier meta-analysis by revealing highly significant moderate correlations, negative of -0.45 with neuroticism and positive of 0.49 with conscientiousness after controlling for demographics. Mindfulness also showed a positive relation to extraversion (r = 0.29), to a lesser extent though. The study, very surprisingly, showed no gender difference in neuroticism in the current sample of Yoga students, thereby creating a deviation to a widely present gender difference.
Conclusions: The current paper discusses the above results in detail, and draws the personality mini-profile of a mindful individual to be that of one who is emotionally stable and/or well-disciplined in his/her approach toward life although, studies with larger, representative and cross-cultural samples are needed to further validate this claim.
Keywords: Big-five, Five Factor Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), mindfulness, NEO-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), personality dimensions, Yoga students
|How to cite this article:|
Menon P, Doddoli S, Singh S, Bhogal RS. Personality correlates of mindfulness: A study in an Indian setting. Yoga Mimamsa 2014;46:29-36
|How to cite this URL:|
Menon P, Doddoli S, Singh S, Bhogal RS. Personality correlates of mindfulness: A study in an Indian setting. Yoga Mimamsa [serial online] 2014 [cited 2019 Oct 19];46:29-36. Available from: http://www.ym-kdham.in/text.asp?2014/46/1/29/137844
| Introduction|| |
The concept of mindfulness can be traced back to Eastern contemplative traditions such as Yoga, Buddhism, Tai chi, and Qigong (Davis & Hayes, 2012), where conscious attention and awareness are actively cultivated (Brown & Ryan, 2003; Kabat-Zinn 1982, and Linehan, 1993 as cited in van den Hurk et al., 2011). According to Nyanaponika Thera (1972), mindfulness is "the clear and single-minded awareness of what actually happens to us and in us at the successive moments of perception" (p. 5), whereas as per Hanh (1976), mindfulness is "keeping one's consciousness alive to the present reality" (p. 11) (as cited in Brown & Ryan, 2003). A more popular definition of mindfulness by Kabat-Zinn (1996) is "paying attention in a special way, i.e. intentionally, in the present moment and non-judgmentally" (as cited in van den Hurk, et al., 2011). The concept of "mere witnessing" present in Hindu philosophy can also be yet another description of mindfulness. A simple-to-understand definition would be "the state of being attentive to and aware of what is taking place in the present" (Brown & Ryan, 2003). Being mindful can help people to begin to recognize habitual patterns of mind that are mostly non-conscious and automatic, and by developing awareness of them over time, allow practitioners to respond in new and flexible rather than habitual ways to their life. Thus, "mindfulness captures a quality of consciousness that is characterized by clarity and vividness of current experience and functioning" (Brown & Ryan, 2003).
There has been a large body of empirical research accumulating over the last four decades on practices that engage mindfulness. Herbert Benson and his colleagues pioneered fundamental research in this area in the early 1970s by starting a long series of studies on the physiology of meditation in the US, terming it "the relaxation response." Toward the end of the same decade in 1979, Jon Kabat Zinn pioneered the integration of mindfulness practices into therapeutic settings by creating a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, as well as, applied research in this area. Scientific research on mindfulness has come a long way since then and is slowly catching up in countries like India too, from where the concept originated in mind training traditions like Yoga as "smrti-upasthāna" and as "satti-patthāna" in Buddhism, both meaning establishment of mindfulness, the former in Sanskrit and the latter in Pali languages.
Research has indicated that mindfulness brings about various positive psychological effects, including increased subjective well-being, adaptive functioning, reduced emotional reactivity, improved behavioral regulation (Keng, Smoski, & Robins, 2011) and neuroplastic changes that enhance self-regulation (Hölzel et al., 2011). Mindful individuals make more benign stress appraisals, report less frequent use of avoidant coping strategies, and are more likely to use approach coping (Weinstein, Brown & Ryan, 2009). Williams (2008) has also suggested that mindfulness may help to counter global vulnerabilities for emotional disorders. The benefits of mindfulness-based practices applied to psychotherapy include greater psychological adjustment following exposure to trauma (Thompson, Arnkoff, & Glass, 2011), reduction in consumption of several addictive substances as well as craving (Chiesa & Serretti, 2014), preliminary evidence for reduced risk of suicidal behavior (Luoma & Villatte, 2012), relapse prevention in recurrent major depressive disorder (Piet & Hougaard, 2011), relapse prevention in substance use disorders at 1-year follow-up (Bowen et al., 2014), positively altered psycho-endocrine-immune response, and lowered blood pressure in breast and prostate cancer (Carlson, Speca, Faris, & Patel, 2007), to name only a few.
Although mindfulness is widely viewed as a trainable skill, literature also suggests that it is a dispositional variable (Brown & Ryan, 2003; Baer, Hopkins, Krietemeyer, Smith & Toney, 2006). There is evidence to support that levels of mindfulness remain relatively stable over time if there are no training interventions in between (Brown & Ryan, 2003; Baer, Smith & Allen, 2004). This seems to suggest that individuals are likely to differ in their natural tendency to be aware of their moment to moment experience in an open and non-judgmental way (Barnhofer, Duggan, & Griffith, 2011). A neuro-scientific study has also demonstrated that self-reported levels of dispositional mindfulness are negatively correlated with resting activation in brain areas involved in self-referential processing, baseline amygdala activity in both hemispheres, as well as amygdala reactivity when viewing emotional faces (Way, Creswell, Eisenberger & Lieberman, 2010). These relationships suggest a potential neural mechanism indicating that dispositional mindfulness is associated with intrinsic neural activity (Way et al., 2010). Potentially, these lower levels of activation within neural areas processing self-relevant information may indicate that the attachment of thoughts and feelings to the self is less robust in those high in mindfulness (Way et al., 2010). More speculatively, in so far as intrinsic neural activity across time and situations represents a "self" (Gusnard & Raichle, 2001 as cited in Way et al., 2010), the reduced levels of such neural activity in those high in mindfulness may also be related to the concept of "no-self" in Eastern (Buddhism and Jainism) contemplative traditions or "dying to self" in Western contemplative traditions (Way et al., 2010). Since Buddhism talks about "anātman" (anātta in Pali) and not "nirātman," the literal translation is "not-self" instead of the commonly mistranslated "no-self." "Anātman" broadly means the teaching regarding what is not the self (Burke, 2013). Thus, lower neural activation could most probably mean that the "self" has less mental chatter, changes less and is more consistent, is more stable and integrated, and is moving somewhat closer to the changeless "self" or "the changeless nature" (Maitreya & Asanga, n.d., p. 17) aspired to by Buddhist mind training practices. Brain studies have also shown that when individuals high in dispositional mindfulness label affective states, the tendency of their brain to activate a top-down regulatory mechanism, in which limbic activity is inhibited through activation of prefrontal areas of the brain, can be noticed more often (Creswell, Way, Eisenberger, & Lieberman, 2007). This would mean that such individuals may inherently possess a greater capacity for self-regulation with greater control vested in prefrontal brain areas during affect labeling. On similar lines, Siegel (2007) argue that since mindfulness involves the focusing of attention in the present moment on one's own intentions and somatic states, such as the breath, this form of internal attunement and integration that is likely achieved through an inward focus of the brain's mirror neuron system would possibly allow for new and more adaptive forms of self-regulation to develop (as cited in Callahan, 2007). This form of the self that is likely to result due to higher self-regulation also echoes with the highly mindful, integrated, and realized "self" propounded by Eastern contemplative traditions like Yoga as well as Buddhism.
Dispositional mindfulness and personality factors can wield important influences on each other (Brown & Ryan, 2003; Feltman, Robinson & Ode, 2009). Hence, there is a need to systematically study the mindfulness-personality relationship. At the same time, one of the areas that also need investigation is whether the relation between mindfulness and personality factors can stay stable despite cultural differences. The current study, therefore, looks at the relation of dispositional mindfulness (assessed by the baseline score on a comprehensive mindfulness questionnaire) to the big-five personality traits in the Indian context to give cross-cultural validity to established relations in the Western context. The current study used the Five Factor Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) to assess dispositional mindfulness, which was developed by Baer et al. (2006) by conducting a factor analysis of five independently constructed mindfulness questionnaires, thereby combining different operationalizations of the construct. For personality, the current study draws on the Five Factor Model of personality, which presents a "comprehensive summary of an individual's emotional, interpersonal, experiential, attitudinal and motivational styles" (Costa & McCrae, 1992, p. 14). The measure used for personality assessment is the NEO Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI; Costa & McCrae, 1992), which provides global information about the big-five domains of personality, viz., Neuroticism (N), Extraversion (E), Openness (O), Agreeableness (A), and Conscientiousness (C).
Several studies have examined the relationship between mindfulness and personality dimensions in the past (Baer et al., 2004; Brown & Ryan, 2003; Thompson & Waltz, 2007; Giluk, 2009; van den Hurk et al., 2011). Of all these studies, the study by Giluk (2009) is a meta-analytic review of 32 samples from 29 past studies, and concluded that the strongest relationships of mindfulness are found with Neuroticism (negative) followed by Conscientiousness (positive), emphasizing that its relation with Conscientiousness is often ignored by mindfulness researchers. The remaining traits of Extraversion, Openness, and Agreeableness also showed positive relations with mindfulness, but they were weak, that of Extraversion being the weakest among all five personality factors.
Gender can play an important role in any scientific study. Because of the psycho-physiological differences between the sexes. Moreover, previous research has shown interaction of gender with dispositional traits (Mitchell, Bach & Cassisi, 2013), and hence was included as a variable in the current study. Evidence of gender difference in personality gave a clear picture for the Neuroticism (N) factor but was mixed for the rest of the four factors. A large number of studies in different cultural settings across 55 nations revealed females to be higher on N than males (McCrae, 2002; Schmitt, Realo, Voracek, & Allik, 2008; Joshi & Thingujam, 2008; Umrigar & Mhaske, 2010, Menon & Thingujam, 2011). The dimensions of Extraversion (E), Openness (O), Agreeableness (A), and Conscientiousness (C) did not, however, portray such a clear picture cross-culturally as they revealed mixed findings with some studies displaying gender differences on E, O, A, and C with others showing no differences (see McCrae, 2002; Schmitt et al., 2008; Lodhi, Deo, & Belhekar, 2002; Joshi & Thingujam, 2008; Shenoy & Thingujam, 2008; Umrigar & Mhaske, 2010; Menon & Thingujam, 2011). Due to lack of clarity in findings related to E, O, A, and C, null hypotheses with respect to gender for all these four dimensions of personality were considered for the current study.
Baer et al. (2004) checked for gender differences in mindfulness with the test used in the current study in four separate samples (total N = 1017) of regular meditators, demographically similar non-meditators, community sample typical of general UK population, and with non-meditating students, and found no significant influence of gender on mindfulness. A few other studies replicated this finding when mindfulness was measured with other questionnaires (McCracken, Gauntlett-Gilbert, & Vowles, 2007; Creswell et al., 2007; Sorenson & Mezo, 2009; Weinstein et al., 2009, Short & Mezo, 2010; Saucier, 2011).
Thus, the following hypotheses were formed based on the above review of literature:
- H1: Mindfulness is negatively related to Neuroticism (N)
- H2: Mindfulness is positively related to Extraversion (E)
- H3: Mindfulness is positively related to Openness (O)
- H4: Mindfulness is positively related to Agreeableness (A)
- H5: Mindfulness is positively related to Conscientiousness (C)
- H6: N and C would be stronger correlates of mindfulness than other personality factors
- H7: There would be a significant gender difference in N
| Materials and Methods|| |
Sample characteristics and methods
Sixty-six students, out of which 26 were females and 40 were males, admitted to a course of Diploma in Yoga Education at a Yoga institute in the western region of India, were enrolled for the current study as a part of course assignments and credits. This sample of 66 was out of the total of 67 students seeking admission to the Diploma course. Also, the current sample of Yoga students was selected so as to engage them in a longer-term exploratory study invoving an intervention program. However, the current study was conducted right at the beginning of their course. All students had finished 17 or more years of formal education before enrolment in the study and 9 of them had short or long-term experience of Yoga practice. Three out of 66 were from other South Asian countries besides India and the rest of the students were from different parts of India. Fifty students were within the age range of 20-30, 12 in the range of 30-40, 3 in the range of 40-50, and 1 was in the age range of 50-60; 9 out of 66 were married. Eighteen of them had from 1 month to 30 years of work experience in fields including as well as other than Yoga.
1. NEO-FFI: The NEO-FFI (Costa & McCrae, 1992) is a 60-item inventory rated on a five-point Likert scale ranging from 0 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree) for the measurement of the five factors of personality, viz., N, E, O, A, and C. Cronbach's alpha reported by the test authors for an employment sample ranged from 0.68 for A to 0.81 for C, whereas the alpha values for the current study were 0.69 for N, 0.55 for E, 0.31 for O, 0.38 for A, and 0.79 for C.
2. Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ): The FFMQ (Baer et al., 2006) is a 39-item inventory rated on a five-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (never or very rarely true) to 5 (very often or always true) for the measurement of the five factors of mindfulness, viz., Observe, Describe, Act with Awareness, Non-judging of inner experience, and Non-reactivity to inner experience. One more item related to awareness of breath was added to the FFMQ in the current study as such an important item was found lacking in the test. The FFMQ has been shown to have strong psychometric characteristics, including adequate to good internal consistencies for all five facets (Cronbach's alpha ranging from 0.72 to 0.92) as well as good construct validity (Baer et al., 2006, 2008). Cronbach's alpha for the current sample was also good ranging from 0.71 for Non-reactivity to 0.85 for the Observe facet; alpha for the 39 items of FFMQ was 0.76, whereas it slightly increased to 0.77 after adding the 40 th item of breath-awareness.
| Results|| |
As the total sample size was only 66, to employ parametric statistics, data were checked for normal distributions, which were established through visual inspection of the plotted histograms of the variables as well as by the Shapiro-Wilk test of normality. It is observed in [Table 1] that the Shapiro-Wilk test statistic did not show significance at the P≤ 0.05 level for any of the variables in the study, ascertaining that the current sample did not deviate significantly from a normal distribution for any of the variables studied.
[Table 2] presents Karl Pearson's product-moment correlations between mindfulness and the personality dimensions, which quantifies the strength and direction of their inter-relations. Consistent with hypotheses H1, H2, and H5, mindfulness was significantly linked to Neuroticism (N), Extraversion (E), and Conscientiousness (C), respectively, with N in the negative direction and E and C in the positive direction. H6 was also supported as N and C were stronger personality correlates among the big-five, the strength of the correlations falling in the moderate (r = -0.47 for N) and above-average (r = 0.50 for C) category with a very high with significance level of P < 0.001. The relationship between mindfulness and E also showed a significant positive correlation (r = 0.28, P < 0.05), albeit low in magnitude and significance. Contrary to hypotheses H3 and H4, mindfulness showed no significant relation to Openness (O) and Agreeableness (A).
|Table 2: Product - moment correlations between mindfulness and personality and reliabilities of scales |
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Age and gender displayed close to significant Pearson's correlations with some, though not all, of the variables of the study [age with N (r = −0.23), age with C (r = 0.21), gender with Observe scale of FFMQ (r = −0.21); all at P ≤ 0.10 level]. In order to remove even slight confounding influences of the demographic factors of age and gender on the relationship between mindfulness and personality dimensions, partial correlation analysis was done. [Table 3] shows partial correlation results revealing that age and gender had little influence on the mindfulness-personality relationship as the strength of the partial correlations showed only a minor variation in relation to bivariate correlations mentioned in [Table 2] (r = −0.45 for N as compared to − 0.47 and r = 0.49 for C as compared to 0.50, P < 0.001; r = 0.29 for E as compared to 0.28, P < 0.05).
|Table 3: Correlations between mindfulness and personality after controlling for gender and age |
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[Table 2] and [Table 3] reveal that H6 was also supported as N and C demonstrated stronger correlations with mindfulness than other personality factors of E, O, and C. In order to further establish H6, partial correlation analysis was conducted with the current sample that fell beyond ±1σ for the total FFMQ (tFFMQ) score. [Table 4] clearly adds support to H6 as N and C show even stronger correlations with mindfulness when controlled for age and gender in the portion of the sample that falls between 1 and 3 standard deviations (SD) from the mean of tFFMQ [cf. with [Table 2]].
|Table 4: Correlations between mindfulness and personality after controlling for gender and age (sample between 1 and 3 SD of tFFMQ) |
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[Table 5] and [Table 6] reveal that there were no significant gender differences in either mindfulness or personality dimensions in the current sample of Yoga students. H7 regarding N having gender differences was thus rejected for the current sample.
|Table 5: Gender comparisons for mindfulness using independent samples t-test |
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|Table 6: Gender comparisons for personality using independent samples t-test |
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| Discussion|| |
Results of the correlations were majorly in line with earlier findings with the exception of H3, H4, and H7, wherein a null relationship was supported. The current study supports the broad findings of the meta-analysis by Giluk (2009) indicating that N and C are stronger personality correlates of mindfulness. This gives some amount of cross-cultural validity to relations established in Western studies although further investigation is needed to validate the claim.
The relation between N and mindfulness can very much be expected because neurotic people are very anxious, experience more negative emotions, and are generally not skillful at coping with stress (Giluk, 2009). Mindfulness is the opposite of all this, as it endows a person with clarity of mind, increases self-regulated functioning as well as mental health (Giluk, 2009). High levels of dispositional mindfulness may, thus, act as a protective factor against the effects of negative emotional reactivity indexed by neuroticism (Barnhofer et al., 2011).
As for the positive relation of mindfulness with C, since conscientious individuals are generally considered to be responsible, rule-abiding, and self-disciplined, and mindfulness is characterized by consistently responding to every moment in a conscious, non-impulsive, and non-habituated manner (Giluk, 2009), their correlation is also justified. Giluk's (2009) meta-analytic study showed that the relation between C and mindfulness was the least likely to be investigated and/or reported as researchers may have failed to see a "natural theoretical relationship," emphasizing the importance of this relationship at the same time. The result about C in the current study lends added weight to Giluk's (2009) argument, especially because C emerged as the strongest correlate of mindfulness in this study. Future research may need to pay attention to the relation between mindfulness and C at the facet level, available in the longer version of the personality questionnaire used in this study, to explore it in detail.
Extraversion stands for the experience of positive emotions, the tendency to be social and to engage with other people (Costa & McCrae, 1992). Mindfulness is characterized by non-judgmental engagement with the external and internal worlds as well as the ability to share and describe one's experiences with others without inhibitions. Thus, the positive relation of E with mindfulness, albeit low in strength and significance, is not unwarranted.
The insufficiently significant relations of mindfulness with O and A were unexpected as they did not support earlier findings. Based on the hypotheses of the current study, significant positive relations of mindfulness with O and A, even if weak, were expected, especially because O and A are characterized by openness to all sorts of outer and inner experiences and a co-operative empathetic attitude toward others, respectively, which are also qualities of mindful people (Giluk, 2009). However, an attempt can be made to explain the results related to O. The current sample of Yoga students came from an institution where traditional Yoga is taught due to which students seeking admission to its courses are more likely to come from traditional and/or conservative family backgrounds and may not respond positively to the aspects of O as measured by the NEO-FFI. It is difficult to find a reasonable explanation to the insufficiently significant relation of mindfulness to A and delving deeper by looking at the facet level of A in a future study may help. The poor reliability of O and A in the current sample [Table 2] may also be a reason why related hypotheses were not supported.
There were very minor changes in the strength of the correlations between personality factors and mindfulness when controlled for age and gender, as revealed by the partial correlation analysis with the whole sample [cf. [Table 3] with [Table 2]]. This was because age and gender did not account for strong Pearson's correlations with personality factors as well as with mindfulness. However, partial correlation analysis extracted a less confounded correlation.
Results of [Table 2] and [Table 3] supported H7 of N and C being stronger correlates of mindfulness than other personality factors. Such a result was expected as the 31 samples meta-analyzed by Giluk (2009) had also drawn the same conclusion. When the sample was split to include only those who were outside of 1 SD but within 3 SD of the total mindfulness score (19 students with a tFFMQ score below 116 and above 144; Mean = 130.09, SD = 14.28), the strength of the partial correlations (age and gender controlled) of mindfulness with the personality factors of N and C increased substantially as compared to that of their relation in the whole sample but reduced the significance of its relation to E [[Table 4] as compared to [Table 3]]. This split sample excluded around 68% of the sample within the normal curve and included only the sample that fell below the 16 th and above the 84 th percentile scores of tFFMQ (total mindfulness score). This was done in order to check whether the strength of the existing correlations between personality factors and mindfulness would show large improvements in the sample having only low and high scorers on tFFMQ. The results out of such analysis also provided added support to H7 confirming that N and C act as the most influential personality factors in mindfulness. Emotional stability (the opposite pole of N) characterized by less reactivity to psychological distresses and C characterized by the self-discipline necessary to be equanimous in the face of distressful situations are the two personality factors among the big-five that seem to matter the most in being dispositionally mindful.
It is likely that the correlations in the current study may have been because of common-method variance (CMV). However, some procedural remedies to diminish the CMV effect as per Podsakoff, Mackenzie, Lee, & Podsakoff (2003), like using scales with different anchors and endpoints, reducing evaluation apprehension, and giving respondents the choice to remain anonymous, were applied in the current research. Podsakoff et al. (2003) also suggested introducing a social desirability scale to reduce CMV, which was not followed in the current study because as per the authors of the NEO-FFI, Costa & McCrae (1992), use of such a scale is incompatible with their personality test. The same test authors have also argued NEO-FFI to be relatively robust in the face of social desirability.
It is worthwhile to note three additional points, the first and second points related to [Table 3] and [Table 4], respectively. First, C emerged as the strongest correlate in the current study as opposed to N, which had emerged as the strongest correlate in Giluk's (2009) meta-analysis. The difference between the correlations of N and C with mindfulness in the current study is very small though. However, previous research has, on very few occasions, reported the relation between C and mindfulness (Giluk, 2009), leave alone indicating C having a stronger relation with mindfulness than N. Therefore, whether having less neurotic traits is more important for mindfulness or having the discipline for self-regulation despite neurotic tendencies can be a matter worthy of consideration in future research in this area. On a similar note, Feltman et al.'s (2009) research revealed that a high level of dispositional mindfulness, in fact, acted more as a protective factor to those high in N, whereas it was less consequential to those low in N. Citing Robinson (2007), Feltman et al. (2009) also argued that if high N people could develop a capacity for self-regulation, the negative outcomes of N could be mitigated. Second, the level of significance of the relation of E with mindfulness reduced way below the 0.05 level when controlled for age and gender in the extracted sample of high-low mindfulness scorers. Components of E such as excitement and sensation-seeking not aligned with mindfulness (Giluk, 2009) may have weakened their relation in the extracted sample, wherein the 68% chunk of average tFFMQ scorers was removed. However, only facet level investigation of E in relation to mindfulness would be able to give a clearer picture. Third, since the internal consistency reliability of the FFMQ slightly increased to 0.77 after adding the 40 th item of breath-awareness ("I generally pay attention to my breathing activity") from 0.76 as was mentioned earlier, this item can be incorporated into the FFMQ in future studies. As breath is the most important life function as well as a common anchor point for mindfulness practices across several cultures, it is imperative that any questionnaire on mindfulness includes an item about awareness of breath.
So far as gender differences were concerned, the results of mindfulness were in line with earlier findings but not that of the N personality dimension. The absence of gender difference in the N personality dimension was surprising as gender difference in N is a cross-cultural phenomenon that has wide academic acceptance (McCrae, 2002). One of the main reasons for the gender difference in N not being significant was the higher variance in N in the female sample as compared to the males (SD of 8.29 for females as compared to 5.69 for males as shown by [Table 6]). This means that in the current sample of female Yoga students, the range of emotional stability varied highly, thereby influencing the mean and causing a deviation to a widely present gender difference. Apparently, some females seeking admission to the course of Diploma in Yoga Education may have had yogic inclinations prior to joining the course, making them much more emotionally stable or less neurotic than other female students as well as the general female population. This finding and the review of literature mentioned earlier give indications that not only are differences in gender in the personality factors of E, O, A, and C sample-specific, but this can also stand true for N, in contrast to the cross-culturally well-established finding of a gender difference in favor of females in N.
In summary of the above-mentioned relations, if we attempt to draw a personality mini-profile of a person high in dispositional mindfulness, previous as well as current findings broadly suggest that such a person is highly likely to be either an emotionally stable or a conscientious person or both. A mindful individual may also be extraverted, but it may not be a very important condition as some studies in the past have shown (see Giluk, 2009) as well as what the final analysis of the current study has shown. Carlson (2013) has remarked about the absence of a gold standard for a mindful person. The current study in the Indian context is a small but important step in the direction of trying to build a cross-culturally applicable standard of a mindful individual in the literature in terms of personality factors.
Limitations of the study
Mindfulness and personality dimensions were assessed via self-report, and analyses were correlational. Therefore, causation cannot be inferred in any way. Furthermore, participants were Yoga students, so it would be important to replicate findings with more general populations. In addition, the participants were not previously screened for mindfulness practices or beliefs.
| Conclusion|| |
As dispositional mindfulness has not received its due attention except in Western studies, the current study has been able to create some base by exploring it in the Indian context. Moreover, it has also been able to replicate meta-analytical results from a Western context, thereby establishing cross-cultural validity to some extent to investigated relations. This study, thus, draws a mini-profile of highly mindful individuals to be that characterized by higher levels of emotional stability and/or self-discipline, although more studies with different types of samples and cultures need to be conducted in the future to confirm and elaborate on such a profile of a mindful person, especially in terms of looking at the complex interactions that would emerge in a neurotic at the same time conscientious individual. Besides, this study also suggests that the "females being neurotic across cultures" phenomenon is likely to find a deviation depending on certain important influencing factors.
| Acknowledgments|| |
The authors are grateful to the management of Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute and colleagues at the Department of Scientific Research for providing constant support in carrying out the current study. The authors also thank all the participants of the study for their whole-hearted cooperation.
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[Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6]