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Title: The role of equanimity in facilitating positive mental states and mental wellbeing
Author: Weber, Joey
ISNI:       0000 0004 9353 6022
Awarding Body: University of Bolton
Current Institution: University of Bolton
Date of Award: 2020
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Recently, the science behind mindfulness meditation has increasingly turned towards how and why its practice can result in such varying change. Whether it is with attention, awareness or structural brain change, research has moved more towards deconstructing mindfulness’s psychological attributes. This research investigates and identifies equanimity as one of the key facets of mindfulness therapeutic care. Therefore, the studies within this thesis were motivated by the lack of comprehensive empirical research into the construct of equanimity within Mindfulness-Based Interventions [MBIs]. Often MBIs implicitly cover equanimity; however, there are no specific psychometric scales that measure equanimity or barriers to equanimity and no primary operational definition in Western science. This restricts scientific research and understanding into the psychologically therapeutic elements of mindfulness practice. Examining the non-judgmental aspect of mindfulness further, the thesis proposes an operational definition of inner and outer equanimity, a ‘model of judgement’ and ‘naturally occurring ignorance’ before validating the first scale to measure barriers to equanimity, henceforth known as the Equanimity Barriers Scale [EBS]. Mindfulness research must be able to differentiate attention, awareness and non-judgemental facets encompassed under the umbrella of mindfulness, in order to achieve clarity over its psychological beneficence and aid further advancement in the field. The proposed model of judgement and EBS was validated by 4 separate studies. The first Principal Component Analysis (n=453) utilised in order to explore underlying factors associated with barriers to equanimity. The second study refined the factors via Confirmatory Factor Analysis (n=108) and the third study (n=302) tested convergent and discriminant validity of the scale. The final study (n=327) tested differences between groups in relation to the EBS with age, anxiety, depression and mental wellbeing. The findings demonstrate how a person with fewer barriers to equanimity is more likely to be able to emotionally regulate, have greater self-compassion, mindfulness and mental wellbeing, whereas a person who has higher barriers to equanimity has greater risk of anxiety, depression and difficulties in emotional regulation. The development of a new model and first-ever scale to measure barriers to equanimity extends the body of knowledge of the existing literature and research related to mindfulness, and more specifically, to the adoption of equanimity within person-centred therapy, clinical psychology and general health and wellbeing. The thesis therefore provides both theoretical and practical contributions to knowledge. This is critical given the current state of mental health in the world as individuals face unique challenges in relation to their own distinctive patterns of experience and individual differences on a psychological and social level. Understanding barriers to equanimity enables individuals to strengthen mindfulness practice and continue advancement in wellbeing with openness, acceptance and less discrimination. Therefore, the proposed thesis serves as a platform for a closer insight into personal navigation of an often-polarised world.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available