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29-02-2016 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 3/2016 Open Access

Mindfulness 3/2016

Attachment Security and Self-compassion Priming Increase the Likelihood that First-time Engagers in Mindfulness Meditation Will Continue with Mindfulness Training

Mindfulness > Uitgave 3/2016
Angela C. Rowe, Laura Shepstone, Katherine B. Carnelley, Kate Cavanagh, Abigail Millings


Mindfulness practice has many mental and physical health benefits but can be perceived as ‘difficult’ by some individuals. This perception can discourage compliance with mindfulness meditation training programs. The present research examined whether the activation of thoughts and feelings related to attachment security and self-compassion (through semantic priming) prior to a mindfulness meditation session might influence willingness to engage in future mindfulness training. We expected both of these primes to positively influence participants’ willingness to continue with mindfulness training. We primed 117 meditation-naïve individuals (84 female; mean age of 22.3 years, SD = 4.83) with either a self-compassion, attachment security, or a neutral control prime prior to an introductory mindfulness exercise and measured their post-session willingness to engage in further training. Both experimental primes resulted in higher willingness to engage in further mindfulness training relative to the control condition. The self-compassion prime did so indirectly by increasing state mindfulness, while the attachment security prime had a direct effect. This study supports theoretical links between self-compassion and mindfulness and reveals a causal role for these factors in promoting willingness to engage in mindfulness training. Our findings have implications for improving compliance with mindfulness intervention programs.

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