Objectives. Later life is often accompanied by experiences of loss and bereavement in several life domains. In spite of this, older adults experience less negative affect than their younger counterparts. Several explanations for this paradoxical finding have been put forward, but the mechanisms underlying the association between age and negative affect remain largely unclear. In the present study, we propose that mindfulness may be an important mediator of this association. Method. A cross-sectional sample of 507 participants (age range 18-85 years) was used to investigate this question. Participants completed a range of self-report questionnaires on demographic variables, mindfulness, affect, quality of life (QoL), and personality. In our mediation analysis, we used an advanced statistical technique called G-estimation to control for the impact of confounding variables such as personality dimensions and QoL. Results. Our findings indicate that the age-related decrease in negative affect is mediated by mindfulness. The results remain significant when we control for QoL and personality. Discussion. These findings imply that mindfulness skills may be an important link between age and negative affect. Implications of these findings for the understanding of the well-being paradox are discussed.

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doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbt074, hdl.handle.net/1765/85989
Journals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Department of Psychology

Raes, A. K., Bruyneel, L., Loeys, T., Moerkerke, B., & De Raedt, R. (2015). Mindful attention and awareness mediate the association between age and negative affect. Journals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 70(2), 179–188. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt074