Category: Addictive Behaviors

PS15- #A20 - Novel Associations Between Early Childhood Adversity and Alcohol-Related Consequences via Mindfulness

Sunday, Nov 19
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Addictive Behaviors | College Students | Trauma

Introduction: College student alcohol use remains an important area for research, with almost one-third of college students reporting past-year heavy episodic drinking (Johnson et al., 2016). Research has consistently linked experience of adversity in childhood, such as instances of physical or sexual abuse, to problematic substance use in adolescence and into adulthood (Mersky, Topitzes, & Reynolds, 2013). The current study aims to identify mechanisms of this relation by examining mindfulness, which has been linked to impulsivity, alcohol consumption, and related consequences (Peters et al., 2011; Fernandez et al., 2010). Subsequently, it is plausible that mindfulness may also be related to the association between early adversity and alcohol outcomes. The purpose of the current study is to examine a model of mindfulness as a mediator of the impact of early adversity on alcohol-related problems and to replicate associations between specific facets of impulsivity, mindfulness, and alcohol-related problems. 


Methods:
Undergraduate students (N = 543) at a Southern Plains university completed a web-based questionnaire to assess experience of childhood adversity, current alcohol use and related consequences, mindfulness, and impulsivity. 


Results:
A simple mediation analysis was conducted using the bias-corrected bootstrap to examine mindfulness as a mediator of the relationship between early childhood adversity and alcohol-related consequences. Results indicated that experience of early adversity and lower levels of mindfulness predicted increased alcohol-related consequences (p < .05). A bias-corrected confidence interval for the indirect effect based on 5,000 bootstrap samples did not include zero (0.09 to 0.76), providing evidence that those with a history of early adversity had lower levels of mindfulness, with individuals lower in mindfulness experiencing more alcohol-related consequences. Consistent with previous literature, associations between mindfulness, alcohol-related consequences, and positive and negative urgency were observed in the current sample (ps < .01). 


Conclusions:
Mindfulness remains an important predictor of the experience of alcohol-related consequences and appears to mediate the relationship between early adversity and alcohol-related consequences. Results indicate that individuals with a history of early adversity are more likely to exhibit lower levels of mindfulness, which leads to an increase in the experience of alcohol-related consequences. Given that mindfulness is a skill that can be taught, targeted alcohol prevention efforts that incorporate mindfulness skills may be particularly beneficial for those who have experienced early adversity. 

Emma I. Brett

Graduate Student
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, Oklahoma

Hannah C. Espeleta

Oklahoma State University

Eleanor L. Leavens

Graduate Student
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, Oklahoma

Susanna V. Lopez

Graduate Student
Oklahoma State University

Thad Leffingwell

Oklahoma State University