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Mediators of the relationship between attachment and dispositional mindfulness in adolescents

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1782-1791
Issue number7
Early online date16 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


Converging studies have confirmed a robust relationship between attachment and mindfulness, leading to the proposition that dispositional mindfulness originates from early interpersonal relationships. Despite this assertion, few studies have examined these relationships in adolescents and young adults. Theoretical linkages between mindfulness, attachment, relationships, and self-regulation suggest that attachment may be linked to mindfulness via self-regulatory capacity. This study examined the direct effect of attachment on dispositional mindfulness in adolescents and young adults, as well as indirect effects via attentional control and emotion regulation.

Participants were 421 adolescents and young people age 12–24 years (M = 17, SD = 4.10). They completed a self-report survey measuring attachment anxiety, attachment avoidance, dispositional mindfulness, attentional control (AC), and emotion regulation (ER).

There was a moderate effect of attachment anxiety 95% CI [− 1.45, − 0.93], and a small effect of attachment avoidance 95% CI [− 1.27, − 0.44] on mindfulness. Attachment anxiety was indirectly related to mindfulness via AC, 95% CI [− 0.32, − 10], and ER, [− 0.80, − 0.41], as was attachment avoidance (AC, 95% CI [− 44, − 0.10], ER, 95% CI [− 0.52, − 0.19]. Serial mediation analyses revealed serial paths from AC through ER and ER through AC with small effect sizes relative to individual mediators.

Levels of dispositional mindfulness in adolescents were linked to attachment insecurity dimensions through attention control and emotion regulation. Attachment dimension-specific differences were noted; for the anxiety dimension, emotion regulation exerts a stronger mediating effect.

    Research areas

  • age, attachment, attentional control, dispositional mindfulness, emotion regulation

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