Mindfulness Meditation Leads To Increased Dispositional Mindfulness And Interoceptive Awareness Linked To A Reduced Dissociative Tendency

Author: Fabio D'Antoni1,2, Susanna Feruglio1,2, Alessio Matiz2, Damiano Cantone1,2, Cristiano Crescentini2
1 Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
2 Department of Languages and Literatures, Communication, Education and Society, University of Udine, Udine, Italy.
Conference/Journal: J Trauma Dissociation
Date published: 2021 Jun 2
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1080/15299732.2021.1934935. , Word Count: 200

Dissociation is an involuntary defensive mechanism to protect oneself by avoiding unbearable internal conflicts or overwhelming emotions. Cultivating mindful awareness could allow the development of voluntary processes that can offer part of the self-protective function of dissociation while favoring internal integration processes. The aim of the present study was to explore the effects of a 7-week Mindfulness Oriented Meditation (MOM) training on healthy individuals' self-reported dissociative experience, mindfulness skills and interoceptive awareness. After the training, in comparison to a waiting-list control group (N = 102), the MOM group (N = 110) showed reduced dissociative tendencies (p < .05), increased dispositional mindfulness (p < .001) and increased interoceptive awareness (in the aspects of not-worrying, self-regulation and body listening; p < .001). Moreover, correlational evidence showed that the more MOM participants increased in mindfulness skills after the training the more they reported increased interoceptive awareness and decreased dissociative functioning (p < .05). Mindfulness skills also improved with more home meditation practice executed by MOM participants (p < .05). These findings were attributed to a possible role of mindfulness meditation in enabling the development of volitional processes that afford psychological safety and integration, in contrast with the involuntary nature of dissociation.

Keywords: Dissociation; bodily awareness; interoception; mindfulness meditation; mindfulness-based interventions.

PMID: 34076566 DOI: 10.1080/15299732.2021.1934935