Associations of Mindfulness with Glucose Regulation and Diabetes

Am J Health Behav. 2016 Mar;40(2):258-67. doi: 10.5993/AJHB.40.2.11.


Objective: To evaluate whether dispositional mindfulness is associated with glucose regulation and type 2 diabetes.

Methods: Study participants (N = 399) were from the New England Family Study, a prospective birth cohort, with median age 47 years. Dispositional mindfulness was assessed using the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). Type 2 diabetes and "normal plasma glucose" were defined using American Diabetes Association criteria.

Results: Multivariable-adjusted regression analyses demonstrated that participants with high versus low MAAS scores were significantly more likely to have normal plasma glucose levels (prevalence ratio = 1.35 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.08,1.87)), and were not significantly associated with type 2 diabetes (prevalence ratio = 0.83, 95% CI: 0.38,1.79), adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, family history of diabetes and childhood socioeconomic status. Mediation analyses provided evidence of mediation via obesity and sense of control, where indirect effects were prevalence ratios (95% CI) of 1.03 (1.00,1.10) and 1.08 (1.00,1.21), respectively.

Conclusions: Dispositional mindfulness may be associated with better glucose regulation, in part because of a lower likelihood of obesity and greater sense of control among participants with higher levels of mindfulness. These findings need to be replicated by prospective studies to establish causality and to evaluate potential implications for mindfulness-based interventions to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Diabetes Complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Care


  • Blood Glucose