The serenity of the meditating mind: a cross-cultural psychometric study on a two-factor higher order structure of mindfulness, its effects, and mechanisms related to mental health among experienced meditators

PLoS One. 2014 Oct 16;9(10):e110192. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110192. eCollection 2014.

Abstract

Objective: To investigate the psychometric and structural properties of the Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) among meditators, to develop a short form, and to examine associations of mindfulness with mental health and the mechanisms of mindfulness.

Methods: Two independent samples were used, a German (n = 891) and a Spanish (n = 393) meditator sample, practicing various meditation styles. Structural and psychometric properties of the FFMQ were investigated with multigroup confirmatory factor analysis and exploratory structural equation modeling. Associations with mental health and mechanisms of mindfulness were examined with path analysis.

Results: The derived short form broadly matched a previous item selection in samples of non-meditators. Self-regulated Attention and Orientation to Experience governed the facets of mindfulness on a higher-order level. Higher-order factors of mindfulness and meditation experience were negatively associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety, and perceived stress. Decentering and nonattachment were the most salient mechanisms of mindfulness. Aspects of emotion regulation, bodily awareness, and nonattachment explained the effects of mindfulness on depression and anxiety.

Conclusions: A two-component conceptualization for the FFMQ, and for the study of mindfulness as a psychological construct, is recommended for future research. Mechanisms of mindfulness need to be examined in intervention studies.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation*
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness*
  • Psychometrics*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult

Grant support

These authors have no support or funding to report.