Mindfulness, Pensions & Life Satisfaction: More Connected Than They Seem?

Life satisfaction can be affected by not only psychosocial factors such as mental health and loneliness, but also systemic factors such as financial resources and even healthcare policies. Recent research set out to explore how and why the specific factors of mindfulness and retirement pension amount could impact older adults’ life satisfaction. This research also sought to understand how positive and negative emotions play a part in the potential relationship between mindfulness, pensions, and life satisfaction. 

To examine the mindfulness/pensions/life satisfaction relationship, researchers surveyed 1,018 retired older adults living in China. The survey included measures for life satisfaction, emotion, mindfulness, and the amount of pension received monthly by each participant. Analyses of the survey data demonstrated that the amount of pension received monthly was positively associated with life satisfaction. The data model also revealed that this effect was partially explained by pension being associated with a decrease in negative emotion. This indicates that an older adult with a higher pension may experience fewer negative emotions or moods, which in turn results in greater life satisfaction. Compared to pension, mindfulness was even more strongly positively associated with life satisfaction. Further analyses showed that this effect was due in part to mindfulness having an influence on both decreasing negative emotion and increasing positive emotion. Therefore, an older adult with a greater sense of mindfulness may experience fewer negative and more positive emotions, and thus also experience greater life satisfaction. 

Although mindfulness, pension, and life satisfaction may not seem related at first glance, this research highlights the strong links between these concepts. Having greater mental and financial resources was found to be associated with greater life satisfaction for Chinese retirees specifically, but more research should explore if these relationships persist within other groups. Still, this preliminary research underscores the importance of effective mindfulness programs and strong pension policies for older adults. 


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Xie, X., Qiao, X., Huang, C.-C., & Sitar, S. (2023). Mindfulness, pension, and life satisfaction of retired older adults in China: Mediation effects of positive and negative affect. Current Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-023-04899-1 

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