The Role of Dispositional Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence in Adolescent Males

Teal, C., Downey, L.A., Lomas, J.E. et al. Mindfulness (2018).

Mindfulness has become increasingly popular in secular culture with schools around the world using Mindfulness practices in the classroom to improve student wellbeing. Today’s Musings shines a light on a freshly published research paper from our very own Emotional Intelligence research group at Swinburne University. The study looked specifically at the relationship between Emotional Intelligence (EI), dispositional mindfulness and wellbeing in a sample of adolescent school going boys.
Research shows that dispositional mindfulness has been found to act as a protective factor against the longer term effects of psychological stress. Similar findings have been found in adult groups including a reduction in the levels of depression, social anxiety, neuroticism and emotional and cognitive reactivity.
The authors explain the decision to investigate factors with the potential to boost emotional skills development in adolescent boys as they are known to have greater challenges in acknowledging emotions. We already know of a range of positive life outcomes (in areas of scholastic achievement, bullying and victimisation, internalising and externalising behaviours, depression and anxiety) from building upon emotional intelligence competencies across the lifespan.

Recognising emotion is a fundamental aspect of EI and the authors discuss research which shows how this is related to dispositional mindfulness in bringing psychological states and emotions into awareness.
Two hypotheses were investigated in this research study; higher dispositional mindfulness would be associated with better EI across all dimensions and that EI would mediate the link between dispositional mindfulness and wellbeing. The results were in line with previous research findings and not only showed that dispositional mindfulness was positively associated with several EI dimensions but that these dimensions (particularly emotion recognition and expression) may lead to greater levels of dispositional mindfulness thereby increasing the potential for the benefits of dispositional mindfulness on overall wellbeing.
Findings like these provide support for the incorporation of mindfulness based practices such as mindfulness meditation into school routines and it is for this reason that Aristotle EI recommends the use of programs such as Smiling Mind alongside their Wellbeing program.