Date of Award

Summer 7-24-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)

Department

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor/Committee Member

Thane Erickson

Second Advisor/Committee Member

John Thoburn

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Jacob Bentley

Abstract

The current study utilized a cross-sectional survey design to examine the role of mindfulness and meaning-making in the development of posttraumatic growth following the death of a loved one. Participants were 232 adults (77.2% female, 85% Caucasian), ages 18 to 67 years old (M = 35.7, SD = 12.5) who had experienced the death of a loved one in the last 10 years. Preliminary analysis indicated significant positive bivariate correlations between mindfulness and meaning making (r = .39 ) and mindfulness and posttraumatic growth (r = .20 ), as well significant negative bivariate correlations between mindfulness and traumatic grief (r = -.30) and meaning-making and traumatic grief (r = -.76). A moderated mediation analysis was conducted to assess 1) the conditional direct effect of mindfulness on posttraumatic growth as a function of traumatic grief and 2) the conditional indirect effect of mindfulness on posttraumatic growth through meaning making as a function of traumatic grief. Results were partially consistent with the proposed hypotheses. The direct effect of mindfulness increased as traumatic grief increased and only became significant at high levels (+ 1 SD) of traumatic grief [b(SE) = .53(.15), p < .01]. The indirect effect of mindfulness on posttraumatic growth through meaning-making decreased as traumatic grief increased and was only significant at low levels (-1 SD) of traumatic grief [b(SE) = .10(.06),p < .01] and average levels of traumatic grief [b(SE) = .07(.04), p < .01]. Overall, results highlight the multidimensional utility of mindfulness in facilitating adaptive responses to the death of a loved one. Clinical applications and methodological limitations of the current study are reviewed, as well as directions for future research.

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