Mindfulness has been shown to have beneficial effects with regard to improving well-being and lowering levels of distress. The Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) has identified facets reflecting distinct mindfulness capacities, but it is not known yet to what extent they contribute individually to important outcomes such as well-being and distress. This study aimed to identify the most relevant facets and their unique contributions to distress and well-being to potentially enhance mindfulness-based interventions targeting these outcomes.
The present study assessed dispositional mindfulness, well-being and psychological distress in a sample of young adults (n = 239) and analyzed the differential contributions of mindfulness facets to distress and well-being outcome variables using stepwise multiple linear regression analyses.
Individual differences in well-being and distress levels were best explained by different facets of mindfulness. The Nonreacting facet was the strongest contributor to well-being explaining 25% of variance in well-being scores, and after accounting for its contribution, Describing was the second largest contributor explaining additional 9%. In contrast, Acting with awareness was the strongest inverse contributor to distress explaining 20% variance and after controlling for it, Nonreacting explained merely 7% of additional differences in distress scores. After accounting for these main contributors, other facets explained only negligible amount of variance or were non-significant contributors.
The present study indicates that different capacities contribute differentially to well-being and distress. These findings may be useful for enhancing effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions by tailoring practices to target well-being or psychological distress.