Graduate Program

Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Ronan S. Bernas


Mindfulness is defined as the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment (Kabat-Zinn, 2003). Current research on mindfulness has begun to focus on how mindfulness works by identifying the various mechanisms through which it facilitates well-being (e.g., Carmody, Baer, Lykins, & Olendzki, 2009; Coffey & Hartman, 2008; Hölzel et al., 2011). The present study examined if engaging less in conditional goal-getting (CGS) is one of the mechanisms of action of mindfulness. Conditional goal-setting (GCS) occurs when individuals have become highly committed to accomplishing certain concrete (lower-order) goals because of a belief or conception that happiness or their self-worth (a more abstract and higher-order goal) is dependent or contingent upon the attainment of those concrete goals (McIntosh & Martin, 1992). The present study tested whether conditional goal-setting would mediate the relationship between mindfulness and the four well-being outcomes of depression, rumination, positive affect, and negative affect. One hundred and seventy-seven Eastern Illinois University students participated in the study through an online survey. The results of the study demonstrated that the relationship between mindfulness and each of the four well-being outcomes was partially mediated by conditional goal-setting. Clinical implications of the research, limitations, and suggestions for future studies were discussed.