Self-expansion as a mediator of relationship improvements in a mindfulness intervention

James W. Carson, Kimberly M. Carson, Karen M. Gil, Donald H. Baucom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


In a recent randomized controlled trial, couples participating in a mindfulness-based relationship enhancement program demonstrated significant improvements in relationship satisfaction and relationship distress (Carson, Carson, Gil, & Baucom, 2004). Here we report on a multiple mediation analysis of these couples' improvements. Potential mediators included measures of couples' engagement in exciting self-expanding activities, couples' ability to accept one another's difficult characteristics, and individual partners' ability to relax. Results indicate that to a large extent, the mindfulness-related relationship improvements can be attributed to partners' sense that they were participating in exciting self-expanding activities together during the course of the intervention. The implications of these findings for future mindfulness research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-528
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Marital and Family Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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