Mediators of the Link between Adult Attachment and Mindfulness

Jon Gordon Caldwell, Phillip Robert Shaver


The capacity to be mindfully aware of the present moment without judgment is associated with a number of positive psychological and physiological outcomes. Experiences in attachment relationships are related to specific cognitive-emotional patterns that may contribute to dispositional mindfulness. A sample of young adults (N = 93) completed questionnaires regarding adult attachment, rumination, thought suppression, attentional control, and mindfulness. Attachment-related avoidance predicted lower levels of mindfulness, a relation mediated by thought suppression and poorer attentional control. Attachment-related anxiety also predicted lower levels of mindfulness, a relation mediated by rumination and poorer attentional control. The results suggest that in the context of insecure attachment relationships thought suppression and rumination defend against personal and interpersonal losses by deactivating (in the case of avoidance) or hyperactivating (in the case of anxiety) the attachment system. These habitual defensive patterns may be important links between adult attachment orientations and mindfulness.


Mindfulness; Attachment; Adult Attachment; Rumination; Thought Suppression; Attentional Control; Emotion; Emotion Regulation

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