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Book Chapter

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Violence Exposure: Perspectives, Gender Differences and Outcomes


Dispositional mindfulness has been conceptualized as both a trait and skill set for managing life stress. Levels of dispositional mindfulness appear to provide a meaningful barometer of emotional well-being and behavioral functioning. This chapter reviews selected literature regarding the potential effects of early life experience on the development of this important trait and coping skill. Empirical data regarding the developmental sources of this important psychological attribute has been surprisingly limited. Some prior research has implicated childhood maltreatment as disruptive to the development of this important coping skill. The present study examined the potential impact of six different forms of childhood maltreatment on dispositional mindfulness development. A number of parental relationship and resiliency protective factors were also added to the analysis. Survey respondents in this college sample (N = 978) completed indices of dispositional mindfulness, childhood maltreatment, parental relationship qualities, and resiliency factors. Respondents who described histories of sexual abuse, peer abuse, or sibling maltreatment showed lower levels of dispositional mindfulness. Parental temper was inversely related to dispositional mindfulness. Spirituality and larger childhood friendship circles provided favorable indicators. These results should encourage continued efforts to examine childhood maltreatment, early parent-child relationship qualities, and resiliency factors as potential sources of dispositional mindfulness development.

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