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13-07-2017 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 1/2018

Mindfulness 1/2018

The Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire: Why the Observing Subscale Does Not Predict Psychological Symptoms

Mindfulness > Uitgave 1/2018
Eve Rudkin, Oleg N. Medvedev, Richard J. Siegert
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s12671-017-0766-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


The Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire’s (FFMQ) Observing facet shows unexpected relationships with psychological symptoms and other mindfulness measures, especially in non-meditators. To address this issue, this study examined the construct validity and reliability of the FFMQ Observing facet together with “observing” items from other mindfulness questionnaires. The study analysed responses of 219 participants to questions about meditation practice, self-report scales designed to measure stress, anxiety, worry, overall mindfulness, and an item-pool of questions measuring the observing construct. An exploratory factor analysis of the observing item pool including all participants (meditators and non-meditators) identified three factors including Body Observing, Emotion Awareness and External Perception. The Emotion Awareness factor was the only one to correlate with psychological symptoms, and did so in the expected direction in both meditators and non-meditators. The FFMQ did not have any items which loaded on this factor. A reliable and valid observing facet should include awareness of emotions, and the results suggest that the absence of this in the FFMQ may explain the anomalous function of the FFMQ Observing facet. These findings have implications for improvement of multi-dimensional mindfulness measures.

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