Using a mixed method to investigate the effect of gender differences upon males’ and females’ experiences of an eight-week mindfulness course

  • Stephan Calteau

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy

Abstract

This thesis examined the effect of gender upon males’ and females’ experiences of an eight-week mindfulness course.
A systematized review showed that most of the studies biasedly claimed gender difference when sex difference was actually found. The opposite is also true when the difference in gender-based was observed. The systematized review suggested that both ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ concepts are conflated. The systematized review suggested that the distinction between both concepts needs to be addressed as operationalising both concepts can provide invaluable psychological measures linked to males’ and females’ experiences of mindfulness related to specific contexts.
A prospective longitudinal study examined the psychological factors of male and female participants’ experience upon an eight-week mindfulness course. A series of multiple regression analysis were employed for the development of a predictive model for mindfulness attention and awareness scale (MAAS), self-compassion (SCS), difficulties in emotion regulation (DERS) and androgyny. During a cross-validation of the model, the Mindfulness Attention and Awareness Scale (MAAS) failed to predict unique variances for SCS, DERS and androgyny. Consequently, MAAS had to be removed from main model. The use of Mixed ANOVAs suggested a gender difference by sex in androgyny levels, in DERS but not SCS, when androgyny was used as control for gender. In line with previous studies, a factor analysis on the original BSRI (Bem sex Role Inventory) items showed that the BSRI has a more complex factor structure suggesting four factor structures rather than two factor solutions but did not show significant differences.
A qualitative study shows that piloting the interview schedule did capture male and female participants’ experience of mindfulness. However, a few more prompts related to the self-actualising process was necessary for the main qualitative study. This self-actualisation process is experienced differently between the male and female participants, in terms of ego functioning. However, this gender difference dissolves when transitioning from a lower ego functioning to a higher ego functioning towards one’s self-realisation. The psychological deconstruction of the ‘self’ is highlighted to be a psychological catalyst of the self-actualising process allowing the individual to make sense of their subjective experience. Self-compassion is outlined as an active ingredient to the self-actualising process enabling the development of psychological qualities of self-actualised attributes and androgynous attributes contributing to psychological enhancement.
Both findings from the studies demonstrate the necessity to operationalise both ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ concepts. The results from the quantitative study conclude that androgyny enables males’ and females’ psychological adjustment. However, inconsistencies in the BSRI requires the use of a more suitable androgyny scale needs to be considered. Results from the qualitative studies found that mindfulness teaching is a direct contributor to an individual’s self-actualising process; but also in the increase of their psychological androgyny, and their self-realisation process.
Date of AwardJan 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SupervisorTony Lawrence (Supervisor)

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