Linguistic analysis to assess the effect of a mindfulness intervention on self-change for adults in substance use recovery

Subst Abus. 2010 Apr;31(2):79-85. doi: 10.1080/08897071003641271.


Substance use is a pervasive health problem. Therapeutic community (TC) is an established substance abuse treatment but TC environments are stressful and dropout rates are high. Mindfulness-based TC (MBTC) intervention was developed to address TC stress and support self-change that could impact treatment retention. Self-change was assessed through feeling and thinking word-use in written stories of stress from 140 TC residents in a historical control group and 253 TC residents in a MBTC intervention group. Data were collected 5 times over a 9-month period. Linguistic analysis showed no differences between the groups over time; however, over all time points, the MBTC intervention group used fewer negative emotion words than the TC control group. Also, negative emotion (P < .01) and anxiety (P < .01) word-use decreased whereas positive emotion word-use increased (P < .05) over time in both groups. Descriptive data from linguistic analyses indicated that sustained self-change demands participation in mindfulness behaviors beyond the instructor-guided MBTC intervention.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linguistics / methods*
  • Male
  • Meditation / methods*
  • Psychotherapy / methods
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Therapeutic Community