Acceptance and interpersonal functioning: testing mindfulness models of empathy
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A study on the relationship of mindfulness to empathy was conducted with undergraduate students at a large southwestern university. Previous studies suggest that mindfulness may be related to empathy, but are inconclusive due to measurement and methodological limitations. A mindfulness construct that includes axioms related to intention, attention, and attitude is suggested for researching empathy, along with statistical models that include mediation. A multifactored measure of mindfulness was hypothesized to predict perspective taking and empathic concern empathy components, which in turn would mediate the relationship of mindfulness facets to individual and interpersonal outcomes. Study results suggest a relationship of mindfulness to perspective taking, but not to empathic concern. Results from the mediation procedures were not supportive of the theorized role of empathy in relation to mindfulness on individual and interpersonal outcomes. Implications and limitations to the study design and theory are discussed.