Growing evidence of the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) warrants greater understanding of factors relevant to the relation between trait mindfulness and PTSD, such as emotion dysregulation (ED). The goal of this study was to examine associations between trait mindfulness, ED, and PTSD symptoms across two samples of trauma-exposed adults.
Participants for Sample 1 (n = 39, 90% women, 100% Black) and Sample 2 (n = 60, 100% women, 87% Black) were recruited from an urban hospital in the South. Trait mindfulness, ED, and PTSD were assessed.
Across both samples, mindfulness and ED were significantly associated with overall PTSD severity (r = − .49 and r = − .42, ps = .001; r = .53 and r = .51, ps < .001, respectively) in the expected direction. In Sample 1, mindful nonjudgment and difficulty with emotion regulation strategies showed the strongest associations with overall PTSD severity as well as symptom clusters. In Sample 2, mindful acceptance and all ED dimensions (except non-awareness) showed strong associations with overall PTSD severity and particularly with negative cognitions and mood symptoms. In both samples, ED mediated the association between mindfulness and overall PTSD severity (Sample 1: ab = − .15, 95% CI [− .35, − .02]; Sample 2: ab = − .11, 95% CI [− .22, − .04]).
These findings demonstrate the important role of ED in the relation between trait mindfulness and PTSD symptoms among trauma-exposed adults. They highlight the value of examining ED as a mechanism of change in mindfulness-based interventions for PTSD.
Clinical Trials Registration
Sample 1: NCT03922581, April 22, 2019; NCT03938350, May 6, 2019; Sample 2: NCT02754557, April 28, 2016.