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06-02-2020 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 4/2020

Mindfulness 4/2020

Nonattachment Predicts Empathy, Rejection Sensitivity, and Symptom Reduction After a Mindfulness-Based Intervention Among Young Adults with a History of Childhood Maltreatment

Mindfulness > Uitgave 4/2020
Diane Joss, Sara W. Lazar, Martin H. Teicher
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s12671-020-01322-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Individuals with a childhood maltreatment history tend to have various psychological symptoms and impaired social functioning. This study aimed to investigate the related therapeutic effects of a mindfulness-based intervention in this population.


We analyzed self-report questionnaire scores of the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), Non-Attachment Scale (NAS), Adult Rejection Sensitivity Questionnaire (A-RSQ), Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), PTSD Checklist (PCL), and Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI), from 16 (3 males) young adults (age range 22–29) with mild to moderate childhood maltreatment, compared with 18 matched participants (6 males) on a waiting list, during both pre- and post-intervention/waiting periods. Analyses were conducted with linear mixed effects models, partial correlation analyses, and t tests.


There were group by time interaction effects with the scores of MAAS, NAS, PCL, IRI-Fantasy, and A-RSQ (p < 0.05). The mindfulness group had significant increase in MAAS (17.325%) and NAS (8.957%) scores, as well as reduction in PCL (15.599%) and A-RSQ (23.189%) scores (p < 0.05). Changes in nonattachment, but not mindfulness, had significant contributions to the score changes of PCL (16.375%), ASI (36.244%), IRI-Personal Distress (24.141%), IRI-Empathic Concern (16.830%), and A-RSQ (10.826%) (p < 0.05). The number of intervention sessions attended was correlated with score changes of NAS (r = 0.955, p < 0.001) and ASI (r = − 0.887, p < 0.001), suggesting a dose-dependent effect.


Findings from this pilot study suggest that the mindfulness-based intervention improved mindfulness, nonattachment, and empathy, which contributed to reduced interpersonal distress, rejection sensitivity, and other psychological symptoms.

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