, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 615–626 | Cite as

Trait Mindfulness and Self-Compassion as Moderators of the Association Between Gender Nonconformity and Psychological Health

  • Shian-Ling Keng
  • Kenny Wei Lun Liew


Much research has established a negative association between gender nonconformity and psychological health. Less is known however regarding factors that may attenuate the link between gender nonconformity and psychological health. The present study aimed to investigate the association between gender nonconformity and psychological health in a Singaporean sample, and to examine trait mindfulness and self-compassion as potential moderators of the association. A community sample of 206 adults was recruited and completed an online survey anonymously. The survey included measures of gender nonconformity, sexual orientation, trait mindfulness, self-compassion, depression, anxiety, and subjective well-being. Results showed that gender nonconformity positively and significantly predicted depressive symptoms, and negatively predicted subjective well-being. Trait mindfulness moderated the association between gender nonconformity and depression, anxiety, and subjective well-being respectively, with the direction of the moderation effects indicating the role of trait mindfulness as a protective factor against psychological distress. Self-compassion moderated the relationship between gender nonconformity and subjective well-being. Specifically, the association between gender nonconformity and subjective well-being was positive at high levels of self-compassion, and negative at low levels of self-compassion. While cross-sectional in nature, the findings provide preliminary support for the role of trait mindfulness and self-compassion as potential buffers against negative psychological effects of gender nonconformity.


Gender nonconformity Mindfulness Self-compassion Depression Anxiety Subjective well-being Protective factor 



The authors would like to thank the Oogachaga Counseling Center in Singapore for their assistance with publicity of this study within the LGBT community. The authors are grateful to all the participants who volunteered their time to participate in this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


This study did not receive any funding.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in the studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all the individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Institute of Mental HealthSingaporeSingapore

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