Responding mindfully to unpleasant thoughts and images: reliability and validity of the Southampton mindfulness questionnaire (SMQ)

Br J Clin Psychol. 2008 Nov;47(Pt 4):451-5. doi: 10.1348/014466508X314891. Epub 2008 Jun 20.


Objective: To assess the reliability and validity of the Southampton mindfulness questionnaire (SMQ), a 16-item measure of mindful awareness of distressing thoughts and images.

Methods: A total of 256 people participated, comprising a non-clinical community sample of 134 (83 meditators and 51 non-meditators) and a clinical sample of 122 people with a current distressing psychosis. To assess concurrent validity, non-clinical participants and half clinical participants (total 197 participants) completed the mindful attention awareness scale (MAAS). Predicted links were assessed with affect, and 59 patients completed a validated measure to assess link between mindfulness and intensity of 'delusional' experience.

Results: The scale has a single factor structure, was internally reliable, significantly correlated with the MAAS, showed expected associations with affect, and distinguished among meditators, non-meditators and people with psychosis.

Conclusions: The data support use of the SMQ in clinical practice and research to assess mindful responding to distressing thoughts and images.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attention
  • Awareness*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Delusions / diagnosis
  • Delusions / psychology
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*