Holding the body in mind: Interoceptive awareness, dispositional mindfulness and psychological well-being

J Psychosom Res. 2017 Aug;99:13-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2017.05.014. Epub 2017 May 18.


Objective Recent dialogue between Western and Eastern traditions has stimulated novel explorations of the relationship between mind and body. Many of these cross-cultural, mind-body dialogues have proven productive in identifying more adaptive forms of embodiment. Prior studies suggest that dispositional mindfulness (DM) and interoceptive awareness (IA) are associated but distinct, key constructs in mind-body approaches that are conceptualized in a variety of ways with imprecisely characterized relationship. The current study is a secondary data analysis that explores the relationship between scores on measures of IA and DM, examining multivariate networks of association between these constructs and addressing their relationship with scores on a measure of psychological well-being.

Method: Participants (n=478) were American adults completing measures of interoceptive awareness (as measured by the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness; MAIA), dispositional mindfulness (as measured by the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire; FFMQ), and psychological well-being (as measure by the Scales of Psychological Well-Being; SPWB) online. The average participant age was 36.44 (S.D.=12.17), and 57% were female.

Results: Correlational results from his study indicated that the IA scales and DM facets form two associative clusters. Canonical correlation analysis supported this finding, revealing that two primary networks of association exist between IA and DM, a Regulatory Awareness cluster and an Acceptance in Action cluster. Finally, hierarchical linear regression demonstrated that the self-report measures of IA and DM shared considerable variance, but also explained unique portions of the variance in psychological well-being.

Conclusion: This psychometric investigation demonstrates that IA and DM are tightly interwoven, partly overlapping constructs. Indeed, greater DM is strongly linked with greater IA. Additionally, both IA and DM appear to be independently associated with enhanced psychological well-being. Future research should investigate how mindfulness practices moderate IA for therapeutic implications.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Awareness / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mindfulness / methods*
  • Personality / physiology*
  • Psychometrics / methods*
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires