Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Mindfulness Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Melissa Jean

Second Advisor

Dr. Andrew Olendzki


This work articulates the need for and introduces a novel model of supportive care: a mindfulness-based wellness intervention that holistically addresses the unique implications and stressors of middle-aged women. Midlife remains the most poorly understood and understudied period of the lifespan. Research suggests that not only are middle-aged people less happy, they have the lowest levels of life satisfaction and experience the most anxiety and stress compared to both younger and older age groups. This marks a trend currently being analyzed: Happiness dips gradually in early adult life until it reaches its lowest point, approximately around a person’s mid-40s to early 50s, and seemingly starts to rebound in older age. This well-being and happiness ‘U-curve’ pattern is now referred to as the ‘midlife slump,’ and it’s especially intriguing due to its consistency across individuals, countries, and cultures. While midlife is undoubtedly a period fraught with chronic stress for all genders, a number of physiological, psychological, and psychosocial factors may mean this midlife low, or ‘dip,’ is seemingly more pronounced for women. This work clearly demonstrates the need for targeted well-being interventions for middle-aged women.

While it’s encouraging that the happiness U-curve seemingly rebounds in older age, it would also be encouraging to think midlife malaise could be improved with a specifically targeted mindfulness and wellness protocol informed by evidence-based best practices. Considering the unique, well-documented pressures and stressors to midlife well-being, this area represents a rich opportunity for future study and potential. Introduced in this work, the Midlife Mindfulness Reappraisal Model (MMRM) may potentially fill the gap here — taking the edge off of the lowest point of the dip, thereby enhancing women’s midlife health, happiness, and well-being.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.