Different facets of mindfulness mediate the link between childhood trauma and heavy cannabis use in distinct ways
Different facets of mindfulness mediate the link between childhood ... PsyPost
Traumatic Experiences in Childhood and the Impact on Cannabis Usage
A recent study published in Mindfulness has examined the relationship between childhood trauma, mindfulness, and cannabis usage. The study found that certain components of mindfulness can be protective against the negative consequences of childhood trauma, while other components may contribute to increased cannabis use.
The Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) include various forms of abuse (verbal, sexual, and/or physical) and household dysfunction (e.g., parental divorce) that occur before the age of 18. ACEs have been strongly associated with increased drug misuse, including cannabis. Misuse of cannabis is known to have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health. This is particularly concerning among American university students, as at least half of them report experiencing at least one ACE. Additionally, cannabis usage has been on the rise in this group in recent years.
The Role of Mindfulness
Dispositional mindfulness refers to the ability to pay attention and be aware of one’s thoughts and feelings in the present moment without judgment. It has generally been found to be a protective factor against the negative effects of ACEs and substance use disorders. For example, mindfulness is associated with lower cannabis use and increased success in quitting cannabis use after treatment.
Dispositional mindfulness is composed of various components or ‘facets’. However, studies have shown mixed effects of these different facets on individuals exposed to ACEs who are at risk for drug misuse. This prompted Michael Gawrysiak and colleagues from West Chester University of Pennsylvania to investigate this phenomenon further.
The researchers recruited 354 university students with an average age of 20 years. These students completed three online surveys: the Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (ACEQ) to measure childhood adversity, the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) to measure mindfulness, and the Cannabis Use Disorders Identification Test-Revised (CUDIT-R) to assess cannabis use and associated problems.
A statistical model was used to analyze the data and test the assumptions regarding the role of different mindfulness facets in explaining the relationship between ACEs and cannabis use.
The study focused on three specific facets of mindfulness:
- Awareness: The ability to pay attention to one’s current surroundings and experiences.
- Nonjudgment: Accepting thoughts and emotions without criticism or labeling them as good or bad.
- Observation: Paying attention to one’s thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, as well as external events.
The findings revealed the following associations:
- Awareness and Nonjudgment were negatively associated with both ACEs and cannabis use. This means that higher levels of awareness and nonjudgment were linked to lower cannabis use. The researchers suggest that individuals with higher awareness and nonjudgment may be better able to self-monitor and tolerate challenging mental and emotional states.
- Observation was positively associated with both ACEs and cannabis use. This means that higher levels of observation were linked to higher cannabis use. The researchers propose that increased observation may intensify distressing thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, making individuals more prone to using drugs as a coping mechanism.
Awareness, Nonjudgment, and Observation collectively explained 20%, 41%, and 19% of the relationship between ACEs and cannabis use, respectively. However, the overall level of mindfulness, as measured by the FFMQ total score, did not significantly explain this relationship.
Limitations and Future Directions
The study has some limitations. The participants were university students who completed the surveys anonymously online, which may have affected their level of engagement. Additionally, the majority of participants were non-Hispanic White and female, limiting the generalizability of the findings. The researchers suggest that future studies should include a more diverse sample and consider additional measures of substance use and adult trauma.
Overall, this study highlights the complex relationship between childhood trauma, mindfulness, and cannabis use. It emphasizes the importance of understanding the specific components of mindfulness that can either protect against or contribute to drug misuse. By addressing these factors, interventions can be developed to promote healthier coping strategies and reduce the negative consequences associated with childhood trauma and cannabis use.
The study, “Mindfulness Facets Differentially Mediate the Relationship Between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Cannabis Use Severity”, was authored by Michael Gawrysiak, Daniel Loomis, Mikaela Armao, Elizabeth Gillooly, Lexi Kearns, and John Walsh.
SDGs, Targets, and Indicators Analysis
1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?
- SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
- SDG 4: Quality Education
- SDG 5: Gender Equality
- SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
- SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
The article discusses the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on cannabis usage, particularly among university students. It also highlights the importance of mindfulness as a protective factor against the negative effects of ACEs and substance use disorders. These issues are connected to SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being) as they involve the physical and mental health consequences of cannabis misuse. SDG 4 (Quality Education) is relevant because it emphasizes the importance of addressing ACEs and providing education on mindfulness to university students. SDG 5 (Gender Equality) is mentioned in relation to the gender distribution of the study participants. SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities) is relevant due to the potential disparities in ACEs and cannabis use among different populations. Finally, SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions) is connected to the need for further research and diverse recruitment in future studies.
2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?
- Target 3.5: Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.
- Target 4.7: By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles.
- Target 5.5: Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life.
- Target 10.2: By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, or economic or other status.
- Target 16.7: Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory, and representative decision-making at all levels.
Based on the article’s content, specific targets under the identified SDGs include strengthening the prevention and treatment of substance abuse (Target 3.5), providing education on mindfulness and sustainable lifestyles (Target 4.7), promoting women’s participation and equal opportunities in decision-making (Target 5.5), reducing inequalities based on age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, or economic status (Target 10.2), and ensuring inclusive and representative decision-making (Target 16.7).
3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?
- Indicator: Cannabis Use Disorders Identification Test-Revised (CUDIT-R)
- Indicator: Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (ACEQ)
- Indicator: Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ)
The article mentions specific indicators that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets. The Cannabis Use Disorders Identification Test-Revised (CUDIT-R) is mentioned as a measure of cannabis use and misuse, along with associated problems regarding use. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (ACEQ) is used to measure childhood adversity, which is relevant to understanding the impact of ACEs on cannabis use. The Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) is used to measure mindfulness and its different components or facets, providing insights into the protective and harmful effects of mindfulness in relation to ACEs and cannabis use.
4. Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators
|SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being||Target 3.5: Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.||Cannabis Use Disorders Identification Test-Revised (CUDIT-R)|
|SDG 4: Quality Education||Target 4.7: By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles.||Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (ACEQ)|
|SDG 5: Gender Equality||Target 5.5: Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life.||N/A|
|SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities||Target 10.2: By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, or economic or other status.||N/A|
|SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions||Target 16.7: Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory, and representative decision-making at all levels.||Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ)|
The table presents the findings from analyzing the article in terms of the relevant SDGs, targets, and indicators. It shows the connection between each SDG, its corresponding target, and the specific indicators identified in the article.
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