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- PhD theses (SV-IMS) 
Original versionMindful Coping by Kjersti Balle Tharaldsen, Stavanger : University of Stavanger, 2012 (PhD thesis UiS, no. 174)
The main objective of this thesis was to investigate the relation between mindfulness and coping. Building on a definition of mindfulness as a way of being in the present moment, appraisal theory was linked to coping with distress. The reason was to inquire whether mindfulness may be related to a coping process that entails appraising and to suggest how it is associated. “Mindful coping” is presented as a way to link these two traditions. This aim was developed based on years of working with both clinical and non-clinical populations who have expressed interest in and benefitted from practicing mindfulness as a door-opener to more adequate coping with general stress- and emotionrelated life problems. Beginning with a look into coping strategies that may play a central role in mindful coping, these strategies were related to mental health indicators to provide information on how mindful coping strategies may affect mental health. Mindful coping strategies were then investigated empirically within a non-clinical adolescent sample and a sample of psychiatric outpatients. Two interventions believed to enhance mindful coping were evaluated with the main goal of learning more about how mindful coping skills may be developed, as well as their capability to stimulate mindful coping and improve mental health. Using a pragmatic approach within a critical realist framework, and by mixing quantitative and qualitative methods, four studies contributed to the current research. Findings showed that mindfulness may play a part in coping (i.e., mindful coping). Strategies for promoting mindful coping have been suggested. Furthermore, the results revealed that mindful coping strategies do seem to affect mental health in different ways for different populations. Within the adolescent sample, tendencies reflected that some strategies were more beneficial than others, whereas the strategies seem to affect symptoms of poor mental health in promising ways within the patient sample. In response to the findings, suggestions have been made to moderate interventions that enhance mindful coping to increase the use of such strategies and promote mental health. Finally, challenges in developing and executing mindfulness-based interventions for adolescents and for psychiatric outpatients have been suggested. The study provides important knowledge on how mindfulness can be linked to coping theories and how interventions integrating mindfulness practices and coping skills may be carried out.