Assessing adolescent mindfulness: validation of an adapted Mindful Attention Awareness Scale in adolescent normative and psychiatric populations

Psychol Assess. 2011 Dec;23(4):1023-33. doi: 10.1037/a0021338. Epub 2011 Feb 14.


Interest in mindfulness-based interventions for children and adolescents is burgeoning, bringing with it the need for validated instruments to assess mindfulness in youths. The present studies were designed to validate among adolescents a measure of mindfulness previously validated for adults (e.g., Brown & Ryan, 2003), which we herein call the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale-Adolescent (MAAS-A). In 2 large samples of healthy 14- to 18-year-olds (N = 595), Study 1 supported a single-factor MAAS-A structure, along with acceptably high internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and both concurrent and incremental validity. In Study 2, with a sample of 102 psychiatric outpatient adolescents age 14-18 years, participants randomized to a mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention showed significant increases in MAAS-A scores from baseline to 3-month follow-up, relative to nonsignificant score changes among treatment-as-usual participants. Increases in MAAS-A scores among mindfulness-based stress reduction participants were significantly related to beneficial changes in numerous mental health indicators. The findings support the reliability and validity of the MAAS-A in normative and mixed psychiatric adolescent populations and suggest that the MAAS-A has utility in mindfulness intervention research.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Attention*
  • Awareness*
  • Child
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention to Treat Analysis
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Mind-Body Therapies / psychology*
  • Mood Disorders
  • Outpatients
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult