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Mindfulness and drinking motives have both been linked to affect regulation, yet the relationship between mindfulness and drinking motives is poorly understood. The present study examined whether drinking motives, particularly mood regulatory motives, mediated the associations between facets of mindfulness and alcohol-related outcomes among college students (N = 297). We found 3 specific facets of mindfulness (describing, nonjudging of inner experience, and acting with awareness) to have negative associations with alcohol outcomes. Importantly, specific drinking motives mediated these associations such that lower levels of mindfulness were associated with drinking for distinct reasons (enhancement, coping, conformity), which in turn predicted alcohol use and/or alcohol problems. Our findings suggest that drinking motives, especially mood regulatory and negative reinforcement motives, are important to examine when studying the role of mindfulness in college student drinking behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record.

The present study examined the associations between trait mindfulness and depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms (i.e., worry), and alcohol-related problems via decentering and purpose in life. Using structural equation modeling in a large sample of college students (Nā€‰=ā€‰1,277), we found support for decentering and purpose in life as partial mediators of the associations between trait mindfulness and these outcomes. Although our findings should be viewed as preliminary given the cross-sectional study design and study population, our results are consistent with the notion that decentering and purpose in life may be mechanisms explaining the health beneficial effects of mindfulness. Future research studies with extensive assessments of potential mechanisms using experimental and longitudinal designs are needed to bolster confidence that decentering and purpose in life are important mechanisms explaining the health-promoting effects of mindfulness.