The role of thought suppression in the relationship between mindfulness meditation and alcohol use

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APA Citation: 

Bowen, S., Witkiewitz, K., Dillworth, T. M., & Marlatt, G. A. (2007). The role of thought suppression in the relationship between mindfulness meditation and alcohol use. Addictive Behaviors, 32, 2324–2328.

Publication Topic: 
Other Third-Wave Therapies: Empirical
Publication Type: 
Article
Language: 
English
Abstract: 

Previous studies have demonstrated that attempts to suppress thoughts about using substances may actually lead to
increases in substance use. Vipassana, a mindfulness meditation practice, emphasizes acceptance, rather than
suppression, of unwanted thoughts. A study by Bowen and colleagues examining the effects of aVipassana course on
substance use in an incarcerated population showed significant reductions in substance use among the Vipassana
group as compared to a treatment—usual control condition [Bowen S.,Witkiewitz K., Dillworth T.M., Chawla N.,
Simpson T.L., Ostafin B.D., et al. (2006). Mindfulness Meditation and Substance Use in an Incarcerated Population.
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.]. The current study further examines the mediating effects of thought
suppression in the relationship between participation in the course and subsequent alcohol use. Those who
participated in the course reported significant decreases in avoidance of thoughts when compared to controls. The
decrease in avoidance partially mediated effects of the course on post-release alcohol use and consequences.

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