Associations of Momentary Mindfulness With Affect and Cannabis Desire in a Trial of Cannabis Use Interventions With and Without Momentary Assessment

  • Lydia A. Shrier
    Address correspondence to: Lydia A. Shrier, M.D., M.P.H., Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.
    Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

    Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
    Search for articles by this author
  • Sion Kim Harris
    Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

    Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
    Search for articles by this author



      Mindfulness, awareness resulting from attending to the present without judgment, has been associated with improved health. When considered as a time-varying momentary state, mindfulness is associated with other momentary states such as affect. We examined whether momentary mindfulness, specifically mindful attention and awareness (MAA), changed after counseling interventions to reduce cannabis use that included ecological momentary assessment (EMA) and explored associations with negative affect, positive affect, and cannabis desire.


      Outpatients 15–24 years using cannabis ≥3x/week were randomized to one of the three interventions, each including two motivational enhancement therapy (MET) sessions. For two interventions, MET was followed by 2 weeks of EMA (with/without messaging). Momentary MAA, negative affect, positive affect, and cannabis desire were assessed over 1 week of EMA at baseline and 3-month follow-up (N = 1,971 reports, 68 participants). We examined changes in momentary MAA from baseline to follow-up overall and by group (MET + EMA, MET-only) using generalized linear mixed effects models. We tested associations of momentary MAA with momentary affect and cannabis desire using generalized estimating equations.


      Momentary MAA increased from baseline to follow-up after MET counseling plus EMA (β = 0.237), but did not change with MET counseling alone. Higher momentary MAA was associated with lower negative affect (β = −0.526) and cannabis desire (β = −0.521), but not with positive affect.


      Among youth using cannabis frequently, momentary MAA was increased 3 months after interventions with EMA after counseling and was inversely associated with momentary negative affect and momentary cannabis desire. Mindfulness may be a useful target for momentary intervention.


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