Mindfulness is not associated with dissonant attitudes but enhances the ability to cope with them

Carolin Muschalik, Rik Crutzen, Iman Elfeddali, Hein de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Explicit and implicit attitudes have been studied extensively, but there is less attention to reducing dissonance between them. This is relevant because this dissonance (IED) results in distress and has inconsistent effects on behavior, e.g. less physical activity but more smoking. Mindfulness decreases dissonance between self-related explicit and implicit constructs. This study investigates if, and which, specific mindfulness subskills are associated with decreased dissonance between explicit and implicit attitudes, and whether mindfulness subskills moderate the relationship between IED and intention/behavior.

METHOD: At baseline and one and three months thereafter, participants' (N = 1476) explicit attitudes, implicit attitudes, red meat consumption (RMC), intention to reduce RMC as well as levels of trait mindfulness were assessed.

RESULTS: Mindfulness subskills were not associated with decreased IED. IED was associated with lower RMC and a higher intention to reduce RMC. The mindfulness subskill acceptance buffered the effect of IED on intention, seemingly offering a skill to deal with dissonant attitudes, which was unidentified until now.

CONCLUSION: The mindfulness subskill accepting without judgment functions as a way to deal with dissonance. Future research should use this novel finding and investigate whether mindfulness can be used as a buffer in contexts where dissonance results in maladaptive behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number32
Number of pages17
JournalBMC Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2020


  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attention
  • Attitude
  • Exercise
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness/methods
  • Young Adult

Cite this