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09-06-2017 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 1/2018

Mindfulness 1/2018

Self-Other Agreement in the Assessment of Mindfulness Using the Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire

Mindfulness > Uitgave 1/2018
Lisa M. May, Kristen M. Reinhardt


How well is trait mindfulness perceived by outside observers? This question has implications for the conceptualization of trait mindfulness and development and validity of self-report questionnaires. We examine this question via self-other agreement (SOA), observability, and evaluativeness of mindfulness. Study 1 investigated SOA of trait mindfulness with the Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) in a sample of undergraduates and close others. Self- and other-reports of FFMQ facets agreed more than they disagreed, with SOA correlations ranging from 0.19 to 0.25. Because outside observers are only privy to behaviors rather than internal cognitive and emotional states, SOA correlations suggest that the internal process of mindfulness likely manifests in observable behaviors. Study 2 investigated the observability and evaluativeness of mindfulness via the FFMQ in an independent sample. There were no strong relationships between SOA and either observability or evaluativeness of mindfulness. The absence of a negative relationship between evaluativeness and SOA suggests that SOA is not strongly impacted by enhancing biases in self-report. The absence of a positive relationship between observability and SOA suggests that the observability of the process of mindfulness does not strongly influence the perception of mindfulness by an outside observer. Taken together, results from these two studies suggest that others do perceive mindfulness, and yet the information upon which they base their judgments remains unclear. In keeping with Buddhist teachings and intervention science, we suggest that if process-related behaviors are not used to judge mindfulness, perhaps outcome-related behaviors are used instead.

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