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INTRODUCTION: A number of studies have investigated the relationship between mindfulness and dissociation and suggested that mindfulness-based interventions could be effective in the treatment of dissociative symptoms. A recent study in healthy volunteers found that attention and emotional acceptance mediates this relationship. However, no study has yet been performed among a clinical sample to assess this association.

METHOD: We recruited 90 patients (76 women) suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They completed self-report questionnaires to measure PTSD, dissociation, emotion regulation difficulties, childhood trauma, mindfulness abilities and cognitive abilities.

RESULTS: We found that mindfulness abilities, emotional difficulties, dissociation and attention-concentration were all related to each other. Using a step-by-step approach and bootstrapping techniques, we found a significant indirect effect of mindfulness abilities on dissociation through non-acceptance (confidence interval 95%=-.14 to -.01) and attentional difficulties (confidence interval 95%=-.23 to -.05).

CONCLUSION: Patients with higher levels of dissociative symptoms have less capacity for mindfulness. Our results support Bishop et al.'s model proposing that attention and emotional acceptance are the two active components of mindfulness. To extend our findings, clinical trials are required to evaluate a causal relationship and the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions for patients suffering from dissociation.

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