Developed over time and enhanced by practice

Leigh, J., & Anderson, V. N. (2013). Secure attachment and autonomy orientation may foster mindfulness. Contemporary Buddhism, 14(2), 265-283.

Abstract. Although mindfulness research has burgeoned, questions regarding the development of mindfulness remain largely unanswered. Mindfulness correlates negatively with the anxiety and avoidance dimensions of adult attachment and positively with autonomy, competence, and relatedness, the three primary psychological needs postulated by self-determination theory.

It was hypothesized that secure attachment style and autonomy orientation would predict higher levels of self-reported mindfulness. After accounting for age, state self-esteem, and meditation practice, autonomy orientation predicted higher levels of self-reported mindfulness whereas secure attachment was no longer related to mindfulness. State self-esteem was found to be an important variable in understanding mindfulness.

Results suggest mindfulness might be an innate construct that can be developed over time and enhanced by practice. Further, autonomy orientation and high self-esteem may foster the development of mindfulness in those with little to no meditation/mindfulness practice. Additional research is needed to clarify the roles of autonomy, attachment style, and self-esteem in the development of mindfulness.