, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 866–873 | Cite as

The Relationship Between Mindfulness and Compulsive Sexual Behavior in a Sample of Men in Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

  • Ryan C. Shorey
  • Joanna Elmquist
  • Michael J. Gawrysiak
  • Scott Anderson
  • Gregory L. Stuart


Substance use disorders (SUDs) are a serious worldwide problem. Despite years of research on the treatment of SUDs, relapse remains high. One factor that may complicate SUDs treatment for some patients is compulsive sexual behavior. Factors that are related to both SUDs and compulsive sexual behavior could be targeted in SUDs treatment. In the current study, we examined dispositional mindfulness, a protective factor for a range of mental health problems, and its relationship to compulsive sexual behavior in a SUDs treatment sample. This is the first study to examine this relationship in a SUDs sample. Medical records from men in residential SUDs treatment were reviewed for the current study (N = 271). Upon admission to treatment, men completed self-report measures on alcohol and drug use, dispositional mindfulness, and compulsive sexual behavior. Bivariate correlations demonstrated dispositional mindfulness to be negatively associated with a variety of indicators of compulsive sexual behavior. After controlling for alcohol and drug use and problems in hierarchical regression analyses, which were both associated with compulsive sexual behaviors, dispositional mindfulness remained negatively associated with all of the compulsive sexual behavior indicators. Our results provide the first empirical association between dispositional mindfulness and compulsive sexual behavior in a SUDs sample. Although continued research is needed in this area, our findings suggest that it may be beneficial for SUDs treatment to incorporate mindfulness-based interventions for individuals with comorbid compulsive sexual behavior.


Alcohol Drugs Mindfulness Compulsive sexual behavior Substance use 



This work was supported, in part, by grant K24AA019707 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) awarded to the last author. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIAAA or the National Institutes of Health.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The first and last authors receive consulting compensation from Cornerstone of Recovery.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryan C. Shorey
    • 1
  • Joanna Elmquist
    • 2
  • Michael J. Gawrysiak
    • 3
  • Scott Anderson
    • 4
  • Gregory L. Stuart
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOhio UniversityAthensUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Tennessee – KnoxvilleKnoxvilleUSA
  3. 3.Delaware State UniversityDoverUSA
  4. 4.Cornerstone of RecoveryLouisvilleUSA

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