Gender differences in the stress-buffering effects of mindfulness facets on substance use among low-income adolescents

Emily C. Helminen, Tory L. Ash, Emily L. Cary, Samantha E. Sinegar, Pam Janack, Robert DiFlorio, Joshua C. Felver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Problematic substance use during adolescence predicts numerous adverse outcomes, including increased risk of substance use disorders in adulthood. Adolescents often use substances to cope with stress, particularly adolescents who have experienced environmental stress in childhood (e.g., low-income environments), but research indicates stress-related substance use disorders may develop differently across gender. This highlights a need to identify coping resources for stress-related substance use and understand whether these coping resources are differentially effective across gender. Mindfulness has garnered evidence as a coping resource for stress-related problematic substance use; however, there is limited research on how specific mindfulness facets (e.g., nonjudgment) may buffer against stress-related substance use among adolescents. This study examined whether overall mindfulness and specific facets buffered the association between stress and substance use differentially across gender in a predominantly low-income, racially-diverse (42 % Black, 24 % White, 15 % Hispanic/Latinx, 13 % Asian, 3 % American Indian/Alaskan Native, and 3 % multiracial) sample of adolescents (n = 212) using moderated moderation models. Girls with lower levels of two mindfulness facets (i.e., acceptance/nonjudgement, decentering/nonreactivity), relative to girls with higher levels, demonstrated a greater probability of substance use with increased stress. Conversely, boys with higher levels of acceptance/nonjudgement and decentering/nonreactivity, relative to boys with lower levels, reported a greater probability of substance use with increased stress. Results suggest that acceptance/nonjudgment and decentering/nonreactivity may be protective against stress-related substance use for girls and potentially contraindicated for boys, indicating that adolescent substance use prevention and intervention efforts may need to be tailored by gender.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107491
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume136
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Gender
  • Mindfulness
  • Stress
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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