Aggressive behaviors are consistently linked to alcohol use and are over-represented among individuals in substance misuse treatment compared to the general population. Trait mindfulness (i.e., a multifaceted construct including attending to and accepting experiences) had an inverse relationship with aggression such that greater trait mindfulness may attenuate the risk alcohol use poses for aggression.
We examined the moderating effect of the five facets of trait mindfulness on the relationship between alcohol use/problems and aggressive attitudes, physical aggression, and verbal aggression among 516 men in residential treatment for substance use disorders.
Explication of the significant interactions utilizing the Johnson-Neyman technique revealed alcohol use/problems positively related to aggressive attitudes for men with below average and average Nonreactivity and Acting mindfulness facets. The positive relationship between alcohol use/problems and verbal aggression was present among men below average in Nonreactivity and Acting. Alcohol use/problems positively related to physical aggression among men below average and average in the mindfulness facets of Describe and Acting. Furthermore, alcohol use/problems positively related to aggressive attitudes and physical aggression among men average or above average in the mindfulness facet of Observe.
Findings suggest that among men who misuse substances, the relation between alcohol use and aggression may be conditional and influenced by deficits in trait mindfulness.