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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017 Oct 1;179:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.05.036. Epub 2017 Jun 29.

Mindfulness practice moderates the relationship between craving and substance use in a clinical sample.

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Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors, Department of Psychiatry, University of Washington, Box 354944, 1100 NE 45th St., Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98105, United States. Electronic address:
Pacific University, 190 SE 8th Avenue, Suite 260, Hillsboro, OR 97123, United States. Electronic address:


Relapse following treatment for substance use disorders is highly prevalent, and craving has been shown to be a primary predictor of relapse. Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) is a psychosocial aftercare program integrating mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral approaches, aimed at reducing the risk and severity of relapse. Results from a recent randomized clinical trial demonstrate enhanced remission resilience for MBRP participants versus both cognitive-behavioral and treatment-as-usual controls. The current study investigated between-session formal and informal mindfulness practice, a hypothesized primary mechanism of action in this treatment, as an attenuating factor in the relationship between craving and substance use. Participants in this secondary analysis were 57 eligible adults who completed either inpatient treatment or intensive outpatient treatment for substance use disorders, were randomized in the parent study to receive MBRP, and completed relevant follow-up assessments. For formal mindfulness practice at post-intervention, both number of days per week and number of minutes per day significantly moderated the relationship between craving at post-intervention and number of substance use days at 6-month follow up. Informal practice did not significantly influence the craving-use relationship in this analysis. These results indicate that increasing formal mindfulness practice may reduce the link between craving and substance use for MBRP participants and enhance remission resiliency.


Addiction; Craving; MBRP; Mechanisms; Mindfulness; Treatment

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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