There is burgeoning interest in studying the effectiveness of mindfulness-based and traditional contemplative practices, and brief yet suitably and comprehensive measures of mindfulness are needed to assess related changes. There is preliminary evidence that pilgrimage may share some aspects with contemplative practices. This study examined the psychometric properties of the Spanish version of the 15-item Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ-15) in a large sample of pilgrims and explored the effects of pilgrimage on mindfulness.
The FFMQ-15 along with distress and wellbeing measures were administered via online to a large sample of participants undertaking a pilgrimage (i.e., the Way of Saint James) in Spain (baseline: n = 800; pre-post analyses: n = 314). Confirmatory factor analyses were computed to find the best-fitting model of the FFMQ-15; reliability and construct validity analyses were also performed.
The four-facet bifactor structure (mindfulness plus four specific facets, excluding observing) was the best-fitting model for the FFMQ-15 (CFI = .956; TLI = .931; RMSEA = .058 [.048–.068]; SRMR = .046). Overall, we found satisfactory reliability (Cronbach’s α ranged from .56 to .85) and small to moderate correlations with distress and wellbeing measures.
The FFMQ-15 showed a four-facet bifactor structure and an overall satisfactory internal consistency and construct validity despite its shortness. We observed that mindfulness can be cultivated by pilgrimage, but further studies including long-term assessments and control groups are warranted before firm conclusions can be drawn.