The role of mindfulness in identity development and goal-setting in emerging adults
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The purpose of this mixed-methods dissertation study was to investigate the role of mindfulness in the process of identity development and goal-setting among emerging adults, from two different identity approaches – the identity status model and narrative identity. Of the total sample (N = 130), 119 undergraduate students completed the questionnaires and provided turning point narratives in the online survey. The results showed that the diffusion identity status was negatively associated with mindfulness, goal-setting and narrative identity, whereas more advanced identity maturity was positively associated with mindfulness, goal-setting and narrative identity. In addition, both mindfulness and identity maturity index significantly predicted goal-setting. The relationship between mindfulness and goal-setting was also fully mediated by identity maturity index. Nevertheless, no associations among narrative identity, mindfulness, and goal-setting were found. Using extreme group analysis, the qualitative findings supported the quantitative findings by showing that the narratives in the extremely high identity maturity group were likely to demonstrate participants’ engagement in exploration, acceptance of challenges, perspective changes in life and the worldview, and positive emotion states. The findings provided implications for theory and practice in terms of the importance of incorporating mindfulness-based interventions in facilitating these specific aspects of identity development and goal-setting in emerging adults. Particularly, the findings highlighted that mindfulness promotes emerging adults’ openness to new experiences and willingness to face challenges in rapidly changing occupational structures and social environments. Limitations and directions for future research were also discussed.