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J Clin Psychol. 2009 Oct;65(10):1087-98. doi: 10.1002/jclp.20618.

Mindfulness and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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Mindful Awareness Research Center, Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder characterized by attentional difficulties. Mindfulness is a receptive attention to present experience. Both ADHD and mindfulness are associated with attention and personality. This study tests whether individuals with ADHD have lower mindfulness scores than controls and, if true, whether personality contributes to these differences. One hundred and five adults (half with ADHD) were assessed for mindfulness, using the Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills, and personality, using the Tridimensional Character Inventory. Individuals with ADHD report themselves as less mindful than non-ADHD controls and more novelty-seeking, less self-directed, and more self-transcendent. Mindfulness is negatively associated with ADHD and positively associated with self-directedness and self-transcendence. Analyses of subscales of mindfulness suggest that ADHD is associated most with the "Acting in Awareness" dimension, perhaps because of shared items reflecting attentional variability. The current findings support that a large portion of variability in trait mindfulness can be explained by ADHD status and personality traits of self-directedness and self-transcendence. It further suggests that interventions that increase mindfulness might improve symptoms of ADHD and increase self-directedness and/or self-transcendence.

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