Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Problematic college student drinking can predict the subsequent development of severe alcohol use patterns. Several theories have proposed that negative affect (NA) plays a large role in the maintenance of substance use behaviors – a phenomenon supported in laboratory-based and clinical studies. It has been demonstrated that mindfulness meditation can improve the regulation of NA, suggesting that mindfulness may be very beneficial in treating problematic substance use behavior. The present study utilized a brief mindfulness intervention, followed by a NA mood induction in a sample of college student problematic drinkers (N = 207). A three by two by three factorial design was used to cross Group (Mindfulness, Relaxation, Control), Affect (negative, neutral), and Time (Time 1 [T1], Time 2 [T2], Time 3 [T3]). Participants were randomly assigned to the Group and Affect conditions and assessed across Time for level of NA and urge to drink alcohol via four outcome variables. It was hypothesized that those in the Mindfulness + NA condition would report lower levels of NA, increased willingness to experience NA, lower urges to drink, and less time to next alcoholic drink following the mindfulness intervention and NA induction, as compared to those participants in the Relaxation and Control groups. A 3x2x3 repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was used to determine whether the groups differed on level of NA and urge to drink over the three time periods (T1, T2, T3). A one-way ANOVA was conducted to evaluate whether groups differed on willingness to continue experiencing NA and time to next drink, which were measured at the end of the experiment. Results indicated that the mindfulness intervention was effective at increasing level of state mindfulness and decreasing level of NA, above and beyond that of the control group. However, these changes did not maintain following the affect induction and thus the primary hypotheses were not supported. One potential reason for this may be that the mindfulness intervention was not strong enough (e.g., too brief). Recommendations for future research based on these findings are discussed.



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Committee Chair

Copeland, Amy



Included in

Psychology Commons