Adult attachment anxiety and avoidance and dispositional mindfulness have been identified as promising targets to address the public health epidemic of sleep disturbance. The current study sought to extend this knowledge by testing whether the five facets of mindfulness indirectly link attachment anxiety and avoidance with sleep disturbance.
Two independent samples (n = 535 and 195) of emerging adults completed self-report measures on attachment anxiety and avoidance, five facets of mindfulness, and sleep disturbance. Study 1 examined cross-sectional data using mediation analysis and pairwise contrast tests. Study 2 hypotheses were examined via a two-wave cross-lagged panel model for half-longitudinal design.
In study 1, attachment anxiety and sleep disturbance were mediated by Nonjudging (95% BC CI [0.01, 0.09]) and Nonreactivity (95% BC CI [0.01, 0.06]); these specific indirect effects did not differ in size (95% CI [− 0.05, 0.02]). Nonjudging also mediated the relationship between attachment avoidance and sleep disturbance (95% BC CI [0.004, 0.04]). In study 2, attachment anxiety precipitated sleep disturbance via both nonreactivity (95% BC CI [0.01, 0.05]) and nonjudging (95% BC CI [0.002, 0.04]). Nonjudging also mediated the relationship between earlier attachment avoidance on later sleep disturbance (95% BC CI [.002, .03]).
Fear and worry about romantic relationships appear to affect sleep disturbance first through lowering the tendency to employ a nonjudgmental and nonreactive quality of mind. This study adds to research indicating that the consideration of attachment anxiety and avoidance may help augment the effects of mindfulness-based strategies.