Document Type



Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has been demonstrated to be an effective adjunct to psychotherapy for reducing distress. An exploration of the MBSR literature was undertaken to examine the concept of pausing. Surprisingly, this process highlighted by MBSR’S creator Jon Kabat-Zinn, was found to be under-researched; when mentioned, it is often not defined. In order to examine the phenomenon empirically, this study used transcripts of interviews (N = 20) conducted for a larger study examining how mindfulness practice is learned. A Grounded Theory content analysis examined open-ended interviews to explore how MBSR participants represent taking a pause. The transcripts had been coded for all content, yielding 1,873 Discursive Turns (DTs), a unit of analysis defined as a single speaker’s uninterrupted utterance. Focused coding was conducted on a subset of these DTs (n = 87) that describe pausing. This allowed an open exploration that stayed close to participants’ own words of how mindfulness training helps them to reduce stress reactivity. Analyses revealed two categories: Taking a Moment and Taking Some Space. Data falling in the Taking a Moment category entailed statements in which participants described a temporal buffer between perceiving internal or external stimuli and their subsequent responses. Data falling in the Taking Some Space category entailed statements in which participants described broadening their perspective of internal or external stimuli before subsequently responding. Together these categories help clarify the concept of pausing as it relates to mindfulness. This clearer definition is expected to yield better understanding of this process and allow further research into this mechanism of mindfulness.



Thesis Comittee

Michelle Mamberg (Thesis Advisor)

Theresa Jackson

Joseph Schwab

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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

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