Skip to main content Skip to search
Displaying 1 - 3 of 3
The Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) is one of the most popular measures of mindfulness, exhibiting promising psychometric properties and theoretically consistent relationships to brain activity, mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) outcomes, and mediation of MBI effects. The present study investigated the response patterns and scale properties in a large sample of undergraduate students (N=414) using Item Response Theory analyses. The findings suggest that general statements of “automatic inattentiveness” or “automatic pilot” confer greater statistical information about the underlying latent trait. Evidence of limited abilities to report on mindlessness and of response bias to “mindfulness-absent” items suggests challenges to the construct validity of the MAAS. The current findings, along with pre-existing data, suggest that reverse-scoring the scale may be inadequate to represent intentional attention or awareness. Further research is needed to determine which variations, components, and correlates of the numerous operationalizations of mindfulness are theoretically consistent and most salient to positive outcomes, especially in psychopathology.

During the past two decades, mindfulness meditation has gone from being a fringe topic of scientific investigation to being an occasional replacement for psychotherapy, tool of corporate well-being, widely implemented educational practice, and “key to building more resilient soldiers.” Yet the mindfulness movement and empirical evidence supporting it have not gone without criticism. Misinformation and poor methodology associated with past studies of mindfulness may lead public consumers to be harmed, misled, and disappointed. Addressing such concerns, the present article discusses the difficulties of defining mindfulness, delineates the proper scope of research into mindfulness practices, and explicates crucial methodological issues for interpreting results from investigations of mindfulness. For doing so, the authors draw on their diverse areas of expertise to review the present state of mindfulness research, comprehensively summarizing what we do and do not know, while providing a prescriptive agenda for contemplative science, with a particular focus on assessment, mindfulness training, possible adverse effects, and intersection with brain imaging. Our goals are to inform interested scientists, the news media, and the public, to minimize harm, curb poor research practices, and staunch the flow of misinformation about the benefits, costs, and future prospects of mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness, a construct that entails moment-to-moment effort to be aware of present experiences and positive attitudinal features, has become integrated into the sciences. The Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), one popular measure of mindfulness, exhibits different responses to positively and negatively worded items in nonmeditating groups. The current study employed confirmatory factor analysis with a large undergraduate sample to examine the validity of a hierarchical mindfulness model and whether response patterns related to item wording arose from method effects. Results indicated that a correlated facets model better explained the data and that negative and positive wording constituted substantive method effects. This study suggests that the FFMQ measures components that may relate to, but do not seem to directly reflect, a latent variable of mindfulness. The authors recommend against the use of an FFMQ total score, favoring individual scale scores, and further examination of method effects in mindfulness scales.