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02-07-2018 | ORIGINAL PAPER Open Access

Mechanisms of Mindfulness in the General Population

Matthias A. Burzler, Martin Voracek, Manuela Hos, Ulrich S. Tran
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s12671-018-0988-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Matthias A. Burzler and Ulrich S. Tran contributed equally to this work.


Previous research among experienced meditators suggests that the associations of trait mindfulness with mental health are mediated by emotion regulation, body awareness, and a less static perspective of the self. The present study sought to elucidate whether this mediational model is also applicable to the general population and whether further potential mechanisms of action need to be included. Meditators and nonmeditators differ in overall mindfulness levels, but also in the structural properties of mindfulness facets. Meditation experience might bring about a change of variables that explain the associations of mindfulness with mental health. We examined the confirmatory fit of the mediational model in a large, German-speaking general population sample (N = 1133) with structural equation modeling, and investigated in an exploratory fashion whether further mediating variables needed to be included in the model. As a side goal, the structural properties of a short form of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) were re-examined. Results suggest that variables and mechanisms which mediate the associations between trait mindfulness and mental health are the same for meditators and the general population. Differences pertain to the strength and direction of some of these associations. The short-form FFMQ is recommended for further research. It was replicably shown to have a two-factor higher-order structure. Findings are discussed with regard to mindfulness training and intervention. Potential mechanisms of action may not be intervention-specific, but may also explain the links between trait mindfulness and mental health.

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