Mind Your Words: Positive and Negative Items Create Method Effects on the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire

Nicholas T. van Dam, Andréa L. Hobkirk, Sharon Danoff-Burg, Mitch Earleywine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mindfulness, a construct that entails moment-to-moment effort to be aware of present experiences and positive attitudinal features, has become integrated into the sciences. The Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), one popular measure of mindfulness, exhibits different responses to positively and negatively worded items in nonmeditating groups. The current study employed confirmatory factor analysis with a large undergraduate sample to examine the validity of a hierarchical mindfulness model and whether response patterns related to item wording arose from method effects. Results indicated that a correlated facets model better explained the data and that negative and positive wording constituted substantive method effects. This study suggests that the FFMQ measures components that may relate to, but do not seem to directly reflect, a latent variable of mindfulness. The authors recommend against the use of an FFMQ total score, favoring individual scale scores, and further examination of method effects in mindfulness scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-204
Number of pages7
JournalAssessment
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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