Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. Clinical Psychology




College of Science & Mathematics


Jeffrey Greeson, Ph.D.

Committee Member 1

Meredith Jones, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

Steven Brunwasser, Ph.D.


Anxiety, Decentering, Mindfulness, Stress


College students--Mental health; Emotional maturity


Clinical Psychology


College students are stressed and unsuccessful efforts to cope can increase risk for poor mental health, including anxiety (American College Health, 2019). Research suggests mindfulness (Bamber & Schneider, 2016) and adaptive emotion regulation (Desrosiers et al. 2013b) can buffer against the deleterious effects of distress. Decentering, a mindful emotion regulation strategy (Chambers et al., 2009), is postulated to be a mechanism by which mindfulness can lead to better mental health (Shapiro et al. 2006). Specific facets of trait mindfulness, namely Nonjudging (NJ) and Nonreactivity (NR) (Mizera et al. 2016), are directly involved in regulating one's emotions, which can help reduce levels of stress and anxiety. Using data from a cross-sectional survey study of 534 college students, the present study investigated whether decentering can mediate the relationship between mindfulness and stress and anxiety, while controlling for gender, race, and previous meditation experience. I hypothesized that facets of trait mindfulness, specifically NJ and NR, will have a negative indirect effect on stress and anxiety through decentering. I expected trait mindfulness to have a positive effect on decentering which will in turn have a negative effect on distress. Results showed that decentering mediated the relationship between NJ and NR on one hand, and stress and anxiety on the other. Findings support decentering as a mindful emotion regulation mechanism. Cultivating NJ and NR through practice can help facilitate decentering and thereby reduce distress.