Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Mindful silence: Mindfulness is a protective factor against the negative outcomes of self-silencing
by Clark, Joshua Louis, Ph.D., American University, 2014, 102; 3633892
Abstract (Summary)

Trait self-silencing (Jack, 1991) is consistently associated with depression and relationship dissatisfaction (Harper & Welsh, 2007). Individuals who self-silence lose their identity in relationships, resulting in a loss of intimacy (Jordan, 2010). Existing research on self-silencing focuses on aggregate measures of self-silencing. We examined self-silencing using a daily diary methodology, enabling us to study both the daily effects of trait self-silencing and the consequences of daily instances of self-silencing. We predicted that mindfulness, defined as nonjudgmental present moment awareness (Bishop et al., 2004), would buffer individuals from the negative effects of trait and daily self-silencing. We also examined romantic partners' perceptions of participants' trait self-silencing. Sixty-seven undergraduate students and 60 of their partners participated in the study. We found that trait self-silencing predicted relationship conflict, relationship dissatisfaction, negative affect, and daily self-silencing. Furthermore, trait self-silencing moderated the relationship between daily self-silencing and negative affect while the self-silencing subscale moderated the relationship between daily self-silencing and daily relationship satisfaction. Daily self-silencing was more harmful when individuals were high in trait self-silencing. We also found that mindfulness moderated the relationship between trait self-silencing and measures of relationship satisfaction and depression. We argue that mindful self-silencing may not be associated with the same negative consequences as trait self-silencing. Individuals who are nonjudgmental and aware may be able to self-silence more strategically and effectively, without negative outcomes on their relationship satisfaction and their mood. This is consistent with research indicating that mindfulness is associated with more effective emotion regulation (Corcoran, Farb, Anderson, & Segal, 2010) and communication patterns in relationships (Barnes et al., 2007). Silencing the self, when accomplished with an attitude of acceptance and awareness, may not be harmful.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gunthert, Kathleen C.
Commitee: Gray, James J., Herr, Nate R., Wake, Anne P.
School: American University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-B 76/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Counseling Psychology, Clinical psychology, Cognitive psychology
Keywords: Mindfulness, Self-silencing
Publication Number: 3633892
ISBN: 9781321140347