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Mindfulness has been suggested to be an important protective factor for emotional health. However, this effect might vary with regard to context. This study applied a novel statistical approach, quantile regression, in order to investigate the relation between trait mindfulness and residual depressive symptoms in individuals with a history of recurrent depression, while taking into account symptom severity and number of episodes as contextual factors. Rather than fitting to a single indicator of central tendency, quantile regression allows exploration of relations across the entire range of the response variable. Analysis of self-report data from 274 participants with a history of three or more previous episodes of depression showed that relatively higher levels of mindfulness were associated with relatively lower levels of residual depressive symptoms. This relationship was most pronounced near the upper end of the response distribution and moderated by the number of previous episodes of depression at the higher quantiles. The findings suggest that with lower levels of mindfulness, residual symptoms are less constrained and more likely to be influenced by other factors. Further, the limiting effect of mindfulness on residual symptoms is most salient in those with higher numbers of episodes.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Depression, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Mindfulness, Self Report