Dispositional mindfulness is associated with less cognitive fusion and better effortful control in young people: The mediating role of repetitive negative thinking

Mindfulness disposicional se asocia con menor fusión cognitiva y mejor control del esfuerzo en personas jóvenes: El rol mediador del pensamiento negativo repetitivo

Juan Camilo Vargas-Nieto, Ignacio Montorio, Carlos Gantiva, Manuel Froufe
Revista Latinoamericana de Psicología, (2022), 54, pp. 205-213.
Received 26 July 2022
Accepted 11 October 2022



Introducción: Mindfulness ha ganado interés dentro de la comunidad científica dada su asociación con resultados positivos sobre indicadores de salud física y psicológica. Sin embargo, el debate sigue abierto sobre cuáles son los procesos que podrían mediar estas relaciones. Objetivo: Explorar en una muestra de 415 jóvenes, las relaciones entre mindfulness disposicional, fusión cognitiva, control del esfuerzo y pensamiento negativo repetitivo (PNR). El PNR se propone como potencial variable mediadora debido a que se es común en múltiples trastornos psicológicos. Método: Los análisis de mediación realizados a través de Bootstrapping con 5000 replicaciones, indicaron que el efecto que genera el mindfulness disposicional sobre la fusión cognitiva puede estar mediado parcialmente por el PNR en personas jóvenes con un tamaño del efecto medio. Conclusiones: Mindfulness disposicional se relaciona de manera negativa con las medidas de PNR, control del esfuerzo y fusión cognitiva. Por tanto, el PNR podría desempeñar un papel importante como proceso subyacente entre mindfulness y diferentes aspectos psicológicos.

Palabras clave:
Mindfulness, pensamiento negativo repetitivo, fusión cognitiva, control del esfuerzo, mediación


Introduction: The scientific community is taking an increasing interest in mindfulness due to its positive association with physical and psychological health indicators. However, there is still ongoing debate as to whether there could be other explanations for these effects. Aim: This study explores the relationships between dispositional mindfulness, cognitive fusion, effortful control and repetitive negative thinking (RNT). RNT was chosen as a potential mediating variable due to its presence in multiple psychological disorders. Method: A mediation analysis was performed using the bootstrap method with 5000 replications on data collected from a non-clinical sample of 415 young adults who completed a battery of online questionnaires. Results: Dispositional mindfulness is negatively associated with measures of RNT, effortful control and cognitive fusion. The analyses indicate that the effect that dispositional mindfulness has on cognitive fusion in young people can be partially mediated with medium effect size by RNT. Conclusion: RNT may play a central role as an underlying process in the link between mindfulness and different psychological aspects.

Mindfulness, repetitive negative thinking, cognitive fusion, effortful control, mediation

Artículo Completo

Assaz, D.A., Roche, B., Kanter, J.W., & Oshiro, C. K. B. (2018). Cognitive defusion in acceptance and commitment therapy: What are the basic processes of change? The Psychological Record, 68(4), 405-418. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40732-017-0254-z

Baer, R. A., Carmody, J., & Hunsinger, M. (2012). Weekly change in mindfulness and perceived stress in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 68(7), 755-765. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.21865

Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator–mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(6), 1173-1182. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.51.6.1173

Bernstein, A., Hadash, Y., Lichtash, Y., Tanay, G., Shepherd, K., & Fresco, D. M. (2015). Decentering and related constructs. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(5), 599-617. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691615594577

Biesanz, J. C., Falk, C. F., & Savalei, V. (2010). Assessing mediational models: Testing and interval estimation for indirect effects. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 45(4), 661-701. https://doi.org/10.1080/00273171.2010.498292

Bonde, E. H., Fjorback, L. O., Frydenberg, M., & Juul, L. (2022). The effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction for school teachers: a cluster-randomized controlled trial. European Journal of Public Health, 32(2), 246–253. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckab223

Borders, A. (2020). Rumination and related constructs: causes, consequences, and treatment of thinking too much. Academic Press.

Brown, D. B., Bravo, A. J., Roos, C. R., & Pearson, M. R. (2015). Five facets of mindfulness and psychological health: Evaluating a psychological model of the mechanisms of mindfulness. Mindfulness, 6(5), 1021-1032. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-014-0349-4

Bueno, V. F., Kozasa, E. H., da Silva, M. A., Alves, T. M., Louzã, M. R., & Pompéia, S. (2015). Mindfulness meditation improves mood, quality of life, and attention in adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. BioMed Research International, 2015, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/962857

Burzler, M. A., Voracek, M., Hos, M., & Tran, U. S. (2019). Mechanisms of mindfulness in the general population. Mindfulness, 10(3), 469-480. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-018-0988-y

Carmody, J., Baer, R. A., Lykins, E. L. B., & Olendzki, N. (2009). An empirical study of the mechanisms of mindfulness in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(6), 613-626. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.20579

Cheng, P., Kalmbach, D. A., Castelan, A. C., Murugan, N., & Drake, C. L. (2020). Depression prevention in digital cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia: Is rumination a mediator? Journal of Affective Disorders, 273, 434-441. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.03.184

Cheung, M. W. L. (2007). Comparison of approaches to constructing confidence intervals for mediating effects using structural equation models. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 14(2), 227-246. https://doi.org/10.1080/10705510709336745

Cheung, M. W. L. (2009). Comparison of methods for constructing confidence intervals of standardized indirect effects. Behavior Research Methods, 41(2), 425-438. https://doi.org/10.3758/brm.41.2.425

Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. Academic Press.

Devynck, F., Kornacka, M., Baeyens, C., Serra, R., Neves, J. F. D., Gaudrat, B., Delille, C., Taquet, P., Depraete, O., Tison, P., Sgard, F., Rousseau, A., & Romo, L. (2017). Perseverative Thinking Questionnaire (PTQ): French validation of a transdiagnostic measure of repetitive negative thinking. Frontiers in Psychology, 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02159

Díaz-González, M. C., Pérez Dueñas, C., Sánchez-Raya, A., Moriana Elvira, J. A., & Sánchez Vázquez, V. (2018). Mindfulness-based stress reduction in adolescents with mental disorders: A randomised clinical trial. Psicothema, 30(2), 165-170. https://doi.org/10.7334/psicothema2017.259

Ehring, T., & Watkins, E. R. (2008). Repetitive negative thinking as a transdiagnostic process. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 1(3), 192-205. https://doi.org/10.1680/ijct.2008.1.3.192

Ehring, T., Zetsche, U., Weidacker, K., Wahl, K., Schönfeld, S., & Ehlers, A. (2011). The Perseverative Thinking Questionnaire (PTQ): Validation of a content-independent measure of repetitive negative thinking. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 42(2), 225-232. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2010.12.003

Evans, D. E., & Rothbart, M. K. (2007). Developing a model for adult temperament. Journal of Research in Personality, 41(4), 868-888. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2006.11.002

Frank, R. I., & Davidson, J. (2014). The transdiagnostic road map to case formulation and treatment planning: Practical guidance for clinical decision making. New Harbinger Publications.

Fritz, M. S., & MacKinnon, D. P. (2007). Required sample size to detect the mediated effect. Psychological Science, 18(3), 233-239. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01882.x

Gallant, S. N. (2016). Mindfulness meditation practice and executive functioning: Breaking down the benefit. Consciousness and Cognition, 40, 116-130. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2016.01.005

Gillanders, D. T., Bolderston, H., Bond, F. W., Dempster, M., Flaxman, P. E., Campbell, L., & Remington, B. (2014). The development and initial validation of the Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire. Behavior Therapy, 45, 83-101. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2013.09.001

Hamonniere, T., Milan, L., & Varescon, I. (2022). Repetitive negative thinking, metacognitive beliefs, and their interaction as possible predictors for problematic cannabis use. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 29(2), 706-717. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.2664

Harper, N., Delgadillo, M., Erickson, A., Boese, A., Schulte, T., & Fairchild, J. K. (2022). Mindfulness attenuates the impact of worry on late-life cognitive function. Aging & Mental Health, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2021.2017851

Hayes, A. F., & Preacher, K. J. (2010). Quantifying and testing indirect effects in simple mediation models when the constituent paths are nonlinear. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 45(4), 627-660. https://doi.org/10.1080/00273171.2010.498290

Hayes, A. F., & Preacher, K. J. (2014). Statistical mediation analysis with a multicategorical independent variable. British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology, 67(3), 451-470. https://doi.org/10.1111/bmsp.12028

Hayes, S. C. Strosahl, K. D. & Wilson, K. G. (2014). Terapia de aceptación y compromiso. Proceso y práctica del cambio consciente (Mindfulness). Editorial Desclée De Brouwer.

Hofmann, S. G., & Hayes, S. C. (2019). The future of intervention science: Process-based therapy. Clinical Psychological Science, 7(1), 37-50. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167702618772296

Huang, F. Y., Hsu, A. L., Hsu, L. M., Tsai, J. S., Huang, C. M., Chao, Y. P., Hwang, T. J., & Wu, C. W. (2019). Mindfulness improves emotion regulation and executive control on bereaved individuals: An fMRI study. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 12, 541. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2018.00541

Ito, D., Watanabe, A., & Osawa, K. (2021). Mindful attention awareness and cognitive defusion are indirectly associated with less PTSD-like symptoms via reduced maladaptive posttraumatic cognitions and avoidance coping. Current Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-01521-0

JASP Team. (2022). JASP (Version 0.16.4) [Computer software]. https://jasp-stats.org/download/

Joss, D., Khan, A., Lazar, S. W., & Teicher, M. H. (2019). Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on self-compassion and psychological health among young adults with a history of childhood maltreatment. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 2373. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02373

Leung, P., Li, S. H., & Graham, B. M. (2022). The relationship between repetitive negative thinking, sleep disturbance, and subjective fatigue in women with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. British Journal of Clinical Psychology. 61, 666-679. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjc.12356

Lewis, E. M., Heimberg, R. G., Gilroy, S. P., & Buckner, J. D. (2021). The impact of brief mindfulness training on post-event processing among individuals with clinically elevated social anxiety. Behavior Therapy, 52(4), 785-796. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2020.10.002

López-Navarro, E., Giorgetti, D., Pérez, J. M. E., & Díaz, S. A. H. (2020). Does dispositional mindfulness mediate the relationship between anxiety and exam performance? Revista de Investigación en Educación, 18(3), 324-331. https://doi.org/10.35869/reined.v18i3.3271

Ma, Y., & Siu, A. F. (2020). Dispositional mindfulness and mental health in Hong Kong college students: The mediating roles of decentering and self-acceptance. Australian Journal of Psychology, 72(2), 156-164. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajpy.12269

MacKinnon, D. P., Fairchild, A. J., & Fritz, M. S. (2007). Mediation analysis. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 593. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.58.110405.085542

MacKinnon, D. P., & Luecken, L. J. (2011). Statistical analysis for identifying mediating variables in public health dentistry interventions. Journal of Public Health Dentistry71(Suppl 1), S37–S46. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1752-7325.2011.00252.x

Madson, L., Klug, B., Stimatze, T., Eness-Potter, K., & MacDonald, J. (2018). Effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction in a community sample over 2 years. Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, 30(1), 52-60.

Mansell, W., & McEvoy, P. M. (2017). A test of the core process account of psychopathology in a heterogenous clinical sample of anxiety and depression: A case of the blind men and the elephant? Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 46, 4-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2016.06.008

Matud, M. P., López-Curbelo, M., & Fortes, D. (2019). Gender and psychological well-being. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(19), 3531. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193531

Moix, J., Cladellas, M., Gayete, S., Guarch, M., Heredia, I., Parpal, G., Toledo, A., Torrent, D., & Trujillo, A. (2021). Effects of a mindfulness program for university students. Clínica y Salud, 32(1), 23-28. https://doi.org/10.5093/clysa2020a24

Monteregge, S., Tsagkalidou, A., Cuijpers, P., & Spinhoven, P. (2020). The effects of different types of treatment for anxiety on repetitive negative thinking: A meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 27(2), Article e12316. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0101777

Moulds, M. L., Bisby, M. A., Black, M. J., Jones, K., Harrison, V., Hirsch, C. R., & Newby, J. M. (2022). Repetitive negative thinking in the perinatal period and its relationship with anxiety and depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 311, 446-462. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2022.05.070

Nevitt, J., & Hancock, G. R. (2001). Performance of bootstrapping approaches to model test statistics and parameter standard error estimation in structural equation modeling. Structural Equation Modeling, 8(3), 353-377.

Parmentier, F. B. R., García-Toro, M., García-Campayo, J., Yañez, A. M., Andrés, P., & Gili, M. (2019). Mindfulness and symptoms of depression and anxiety in the general population: The mediating roles of worry, rumination, reappraisal and suppression. Frontiers in Psychology, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00506

Perestelo-Perez, L., Barraca, J., Peñate, W., Rivero-Santana, A., & Alvarez-Perez, Y. (2017). Mindfulness-based interventions for the treatment of depressive rumination: Systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 17(3), 282-295. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijchp.2017.07.004

Petrocchi, N., & Ottaviani, C. (2016). Mindfulness facets distinctively predict depressive symptoms after two years: The mediating role of rumination. Personality and Individual Differences, 93, 92-96. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.08.017

Qualtrics. (2022). Qualtrics (Version 11.21) [Survey software].https://www.qualtrics.com

Roemer, L., Williston, S. K., & Rollins, L. G. (2015). Mindfulness and emotion regulation. Current Opinion in Psychology, 3, 52-57. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.02.006

Ruiz, F. J., Suárez-Falcón, J. C., Riaño-Hernández, D., & Gillanders, D. (2017). Psychometric properties of the Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire in Colombia. Revista Latinoamericana de Psicología, 49(1), 80-87. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rlp.2016.09.006

Ruiz, F. J., Gil-Luciano, B., & Segura-Vargas, M. A. (2021). Cognitive defusion. In M. P. Twohig, M. E. Levin, & J. M. Petersen (Eds.), Oxford handbook of acceptance and commitment therapy. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780197550076.013.9

Sanford, B. T., Ciarrochi, J., Hofmann, S. G., Chin, F., Gates, K. M., & Hayes, S. C. (2022). Toward empirical process-based case conceptualization: An idionomic network examination of the process-based assessment tool. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 25, 10-25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcbs.2022.05.006

Santarnecchi, E., D´Arista, S., Egiziano, E., Gardi, C., Petrosino, R., Vatti, G., Reda, M., & Rossi, A. (2014). Interaction between neuroanatomical and psychological changes after mindfulness-based training. PLoS ONE, 9(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0108359

Shapiro Jr., D. H. (1992). Adverse effects of meditation: A preliminary investigation of long-term meditators. International Journal of Psychosomatics, 39(1-4), 62-67.

Shapiro, S. L., Carlson, L. E., Astin, J. A., & Freedman, B. (2006). Mechanisms of mindfulness. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62(3), 373-386. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.20237

Sosa, M. P. & Bianchi-Salguero, J. (2019). Propiedades psicométricas de la escala Five Factor Mindfulness Questionnaire FFMQ en una muestra colombiana [Master’s dissertation, Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz]. Digital repository. https://repositorio.konradlorenz.edu.co/handle/001/2235

Tomlinson, E. R., Yousaf, O., Vittersø, A. D., & Jones, L. (2018). Dispositional mindfulness and psychological health: A systematic review. Mindfulness, 9(1), 23-43. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0762-6

Tortella-Feliu, M., Ibáñez, I., García De La Banda, G., Balle, M., Aguayo-Siquier, B., Morillas-Romero, A., & Llabrés, J. (2013). La Escala de Control Intencional para adultos: Propiedades psicométricas de la versión catalana y sus relaciones con la regulación emocional cognitiva. Anales de Psicología, 29(3), 953–964.. https://doi.org/10.6018/analesps.29.3.135111

Tortella-Feliu, M., Soler, J., Burns, L., Cebolla, A., Elices, M., Pascual, J. C., López Del Hoyo, Y., Baños, R., & García-Campayo, J. (2018). Relationship between effortful control and facets of mindfulness in meditators, non-meditators and individuals with borderline personality disorder. Personality and Mental Health, 12(3), 265-278. https://doi.org/10.1002/pmh.1420

Valencia, P. D. (2020). Initial psychometric evaluation of the Perseverative Thinking Questionnaire in Peruvian undergraduates. Liberabit. Revista Peruana de Psicología, 26(2), 1-14. https://doi.org/10.24265/liberabit.2020.v26n2.05.

Vanzhula, I. A., & Levinson, C. A. (2020). Mindfulness in the treatment of eating disorders: Theoretical rationale and hypothesized mechanisms of action. Mindfulness, 11(5), 1090-1104. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-020-01343-4

Watkins, E. R., & Roberts, H. (2020). Reflecting on rumination: Consequences, causes, mechanisms and treatment of rumination. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 127, 103573.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2020.103573

Whitfield, A., Walsh, S., Levita, L., & Reuber, M. (2022). 143 Catastrophising cognitions in patients with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures compared to patients with epilepsy. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 93(6), A54.3-A54. https://doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2022-abn.175

Zeidan, F., Johnson, S. K., Diamond, B. J., David, Z., & Goolkasian, P. (2010). Mindfulness meditation improves cognition: Evidence of brief mental training. Consciousness and Cognition, 19(2), 597-605. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2010.03.014