Data and methods Accepted project proposals Mindfulness and its relation to emotion regulation and social connections Testing bi-directional links and examining the potential mediating role of language production

Author: Johan Karremans
Affiliation(s): Behavioral Science Institute, Radboud University
Keywords: Trait mindfulness, emotion regulation, language fluency, loneliness
Research question(s): 

  • To what extent does language production mediate the potential relationship between mindfulness, and emotion regulation and social connection?
  • What are the bidirectional longitudinal links between mindfulness, emotion regulation and social connection?

Mindfulness impacts mental health and wellbeing (Creswell, 2017). Both individual and relational factors of mindfulness could contribute to improved health outcomes; mindfulness impacts mental health through emotion regulation (Guendelman et al., 2017), and also fosters social connections (Adair et al., 2018). However, not much is known as to how mindfulness may enhance emotion regulation abilities and social connections. 
Language production could mediate these effects. Firstly, mindfulness may predict language production. For instance, mindfulness training could lead to a significant increase in verbal fluency (Millett et al., 2021), and overall mindfulness relates to linguistic markers such as cognitive processing words, present tense words, affect, and body-related words (Collins et al., 2009; Moore & Brody, 2009). Secondly, language production may also link to emotion regulation and social connections. On the one hand, verbal fluency may improve skills that are required for successful emotion regulation such as controlled planning, activation and monitoring (Gyurak et al., 2012), and affect words relate to emotion regulation (Monin et al., 2012). On the other hand, recent research has provided preliminary evidence that verbal fluency is negatively related to loneliness and thus may also play a role in social connections (Luchetti et al., 2022).
To date, no research has yet examined the potential mediating role of language production between mindfulness and important individual and relational outcomes. Furthermore, it is unclear which facets of mindfulness may play a role, and the extent to which education level (being related to language production and mindfulness) moderates this relationship. The current study aims to assess the potential mediating role of language production in the potential relationship between (different facets of) mindfulness, and emotion regulation and social connection (project 1). Moreover, it also examines the bi-directional links between mindfulness and social connections and emotion regulation distinguishing between within- and between-person effects separately to improve the interpretation of bi-directional processes (project 2).