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17-12-2019 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 3/2020

Mindfulness 3/2020

Pain-Induced Alcohol Urge and Intention to Drink: the Role of Dispositional Mindfulness

Mindfulness > Uitgave 3/2020
Dezarie Moskal, Martin J. De Vita, Stephen A. Maisto
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This paper is based on an analysis of data collected for Ms. Moskal’s master’s thesis. Data reported in this study have not been included in any previous publication. A subset of these analyses was published in Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology (Moskal et al. 2018) and was presented at the 40th Annual Research Society on Alcoholism conference, 2017, June, Denver, Colorado, and the 41st Annual Research Society on Alcoholism conference, 2018, June, San Diego, California.

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Experimental findings have shown that pain increased alcohol urge and intention to use alcohol, and that this relation was mediated by pain-induced negative affect. We sought to extend this research by examining (a) whether dispositional mindfulness moderates the indirect effect of experimental pain induction on alcohol use proxies via negative affect and (b) whether the five mindfulness facets, tested independently, differentially moderate the mediation model.


Secondary data analysis of a repeated measures experimental study was conducted using moderated mediation analyses. Participants included 61 undergraduate students (Mage = 18.7, SD = 0.82; 50.8% male) who endorsed risky drinking.


Results showed that the index of moderated mediation was significant for the mindfulness facets of observing, describing, and non-reactivity. Specifically, pain increased alcohol use proxies via increased negative affect for participants who were either low in non-reactivity or high in the observing or describing mindfulness facets. Conversely, negative affect was less important in the pain-alcohol relation for individuals high in non-reactivity or low in observing or describing mindfulness facets. There were no significant moderating effects of overall mindfulness or the awareness and non-judging facets.


The differential relations of mindfulness facets found in this study highlight the need to consider the multifaceted nature of mindfulness when exploring the physical pain and alcohol relation. Further research should confirm whether lower levels of non-reactivity and higher levels of observing or describing may be indicators that an individual suffering from pain-related alcohol use will benefit from pain treatment that targets pain-related negative affect.

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