Is being mindful associated with reduced risk for internally-motivated drinking and alcohol use among undergraduates?
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2015
Pages: 222 - 226
Source ID: shanti-sources-108591
Collection: Mindfulness Studies and Undergraduates
Abstract: Mindfulness encompasses four core skills: observing, describing, acting with awareness, and accepting without judgment; which aim to increase one's awareness, tolerance, and acceptance of internal experiences (Baer et al., 2004). Despite promising clinical results that mindfulness reduces alcohol craving and relapse, complementary etiological research is underdeveloped. Theory suggests that those who are motivated to drink to change internal states (reduce negative/increase positive affect) are at risk for elevated alcohol use. The ability to accept one's affective state should preclude internally-motivated drinking, and thus, elevated alcohol use. The purpose of this study was to parse out which mindfulness skills are central to alcohol use. We hypothesized that accepting without judgment would be a unique negative predictor of internally-motivated drinking (drinking for coping and enhancement motives) and alcohol use. Students (N=76) completed self-report measures of past month alcohol use and four motives for drinking: to cope, for enhancement, to conform, and for social reasons. Partially supporting our hypotheses, accepting without judgment was negatively associated with drinking for coping motives, but was unassociated with drinking for enhancement motives. Interestingly, acceptance without judgment was negatively associated with drinking for conformity motives (to reduce social rejection). Unexpectedly, acting with awareness, but not accepting without judgment, was a negative predictor of alcohol use. Our findings suggest that interventions aimed at reducing coping- and conformity-motivated drinking and alcohol use by young adults may benefit from incorporating mindfulness skills training (i.e., accepting without judgment; acting with awareness).