Trait Mindfulness and Progression to Injection Use in Youth With Opioid Addiction

J. Deanna Wilson, Hoa Vo, Pamela Matson, Hoover Adger, Gabriela Barnett, Marc Fishman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Many youth initiate opioid misuse with prescription opioids and transition over time to more severe substance-using behaviors, including injection. Trait mindfulness is a potentially protective factor. Objectives: This is a cross-sectional study characterizing a sample of opioid-using youth by level of mindfulness and examines the potential effect modification of emotion regulation on the relationship between mindfulness and progression to injection opioid use. Methods: A convenience sample of 112 youth (ages 14–24) was recruited during an episode of inpatient detoxification and residential treatment for opioid use disorders. We examined emotion regulation (Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale), mindfulness (Child Acceptance and Mindfulness Measure), and opioid use. We completed multivariable regressions stratified by degree of emotion regulation looking at relationship of mindfulness on time to injection use from age of first prescription opioid. Results: Youth had difficulties in emotion regulation (m = 104.2; SD = 2.41) and low mindfulness (m = 19.1;SD = 0.59). While we found overall that mindfulness was associated with time to progression to injection opioid use, there was significant effect modification. Among youth with high levels of difficulty in emotion regulation, those with high mindfulness trait had quicker progressions to injection (−1.31 years; p =.003). In contrast, youth with normal emotion regulation and high mindfulness trait had a slower progression to injection (1.67 years; p =.041). Conclusion/Importance: Our study showed a majority of youth presenting with opioid use disorders have impairments in emotion regulation and deficits in trait mindfulness. The relationship between mindfulness and opioid use is impacted by emotion regulation capacity. More research is needed to understand the various facets of mindfulness and how they interact with emotion regulation in youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1486-1493
Number of pages8
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 19 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • heroin
  • impulsive behavior
  • mindfulness
  • opioid analgesics
  • opioid-related disorders
  • substance-related disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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