Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Claire Adams Spears

Second Advisor

Ashli Owen-Smith

Third Advisor

Shanta Rishi Dube


Introduction: Research supports the benefits of mindfulness-based interventions for improving stress management and treating addiction. However, the majority of this work has focused on relatively affluent, predominantly non-Latino white populations. It is important to understand how people from various sociodemographic backgrounds might learn and practice mindfulness.

Aim: Examine sociodemographic differences in smokers’ experiences with a mindfulness-based addiction intervention.

Methods: The parent study was a randomized controlled trial in which smokers were randomized to receive Mindfulness-Based Addiction Treatment (MBAT, in which they received an 8-week intervention program, nicotine patch therapy, and self-help materials) or iQuit Mindfully (in which they received the same intervention program, nicotine patch therapy, and self-help materials, with the addition of between-session text messages) over the course of 8 weeks. At baseline, participants in both groups completed sociodemographic questions. These questions included age [categorized as younger (18-30), middle age (31-49) or older (50-65)], sex, and income [categorized as lower income (a yearly annual household income of < $18,000), mid-income (a yearly income of $18,001-$60,000) and higher-income (>$60,001). Participants in both groups also participated in in-depth, one-on-one interviews at one-month follow-up. These interviews involved questions regarding participants’ experiences with mindfulness outside of the group sessions. The interviews also assessed how often participants discussed participating in both formal and informal practices of mindfulness. Due to loss to follow-up, 60 of the 71 initial participants completed the interviews. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and coded using NVivo 11.

Results: Three main themes were identified during qualitative analysis: Mindfulness Practice, Mindfulness Strategies to Quit Smoking, and Other Applications of Mindfulness Practice, along with subthemes within each. The data indicated that practicing mindfulness outside of the group sessions was mentioned more among the older age group than any other age group (30-49, 50-65) and among middle income participants rather than low or high income participants. Overall, women mentioned practicing formal mindfulness more often than men. Lower SES individuals and older individuals mentioned practicing both informal and formal practices compared to mid/higher SES and middle age/younger individuals, respectively. Results also showed that plans for future mindfulness practice were mentioned more amongst lower SES women.

Discussion: The data suggest that overall, older participants were more likely to mention practicing any type of mindfulness and plan for future mindfulness practice. Findings also suggest that women mentioned practicing mindfulness or plans for future mindfulness practice more than men. Lastly, data suggest that mid-income participants were likelier to mention practicing mindfulness strategies to quit while low income participants mentioned and incorporating it for other behaviors than any other income group.