Journal of Behavioral Health and Psychology. 2012; 2(1):(47-318)


Mindfulness and addictive behaviors

Marcello Spinella, Sara Martino, Christine Ferri

Abstract

There has been increasing interest in mindfulness-based treatments for psychological illnesses, including substance abuse. Mindfulness involves intentionally directing attention to experiences in the present moment and observing them with a nonjudgmental attitude. This study examined the relationship between mindfulness and various addictive behaviors (i.e. alcohol abuse, pathological gambling, sex addiction, and compulsive buying) in a community sample. A short but comprehensive composite measure of mindfulness was constructed from previous valid measures, which retained good reliability and a five-factor structure. Two higher-order factors emerged: Attentive Acceptance (Nonjudging, Acting with Awareness) and Descriptive Observation (Describe, Observe, Nonreactivity). Inverse correlations emerged between the nonjudgmental attitude and alcohol abuse, pathological gambling, and sexual addiction, independent of demographic influences. Compulsive buying related inversely to acting with awareness. The findings of this study support the use of mindfulness as a treatment for substance abuse and suggest the possible usefulness for the treatment of other addictive behaviors

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