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01-09-2013 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 3/2013

Mindfulness 3/2013

Observing as an Essential Facet of Mindfulness: A Comparison of FFMQ Patterns in Meditating and Non-Meditating Individuals

Mindfulness > Uitgave 3/2013
Josefine L. Lilja, Lars-Gunnar Lundh, Torbjörn Josefsson, Fredrik Falkenström


One of the most comprehensive measures of mindfulness is the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) with five factors—Observing, Describing, Acting with awareness, Non-judging, and Non-reactivity. Hierarchical confirmatory factor analyses, however, have suggested that only four of the FFMQ factors (i.e. all except Observing) were components of “an overall mindfulness construct”—which is puzzling because Observing represents a core aspect of all definitions of mindfulness. The purpose of the present study was to approach this problem by a person-oriented approach, focusing on patterns on the FFMQ scales, rather than linear associations between them. Data on the FFMQ were collected on 817 individuals. Cluster analysis according to the LICUR procedure was used to group these participants in 13 clusters, according to their profiles of scores on the five FFMQ scales. Of the participants, 325 were categorized as meditators and 317 as non-meditators. To test hypotheses about the relation between Observing and mindfulness (which we assumed should be higher among meditators), the meditators/non-meditators categorization was cross-tabulated with the FFMQ clusters. The results showed that all clusters in which meditators were over-represented had high scores on Observing, and all clusters in which meditators were under-represented had low scores on Observing—which supports the hypothesis that mindfulness is related to high levels of Observing. The relationship between Observing and Non-judging, however, was found to be more complex than expected. The results are discussed in terms of mindfulness seen as a multidimensional skill, which may develop differently in various subgroups of individuals.

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