Becoming Mindful of Measurement: an Experimental-Experiential Analogue Study of State Mindfulness Measures
Preliminary research and anecdotal accounts suggest individuals often hold preconceived notions, misconceptions, and misinformation about the theory and practice of mindfulness and mindfulness meditation. Still, no experimental research examines how these ideas about mindfulness and mindfulness meditation influence responses to state mindfulness instruments designed to measure related outcomes.
The current study implemented an experimental-experiential design to examine how the presentation of mindfulness via mindfulness theory-consistent(TC) and theory-inconsistent(TI) treatment rationales and subsequent mindfulness meditation practices (consistent with respective rationales) affected participants’ (n = 114) state mindfulness scores and perceptions of mindfulness. Self-reported trait mindfulness (Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, MAAS), state mindfulness (Toronto Mindfulness Scale, TMS; State Mindfulness Scale, SMS), and qualitative measurements (participant open entry) were utilized.
Despite vastly different presentations of mindfulness being utilized by participants (successful experimental manipulation; significant between-group differences in number of qualitative mindfulness misconceptions coded [TI > TC]), there were no significant differences between the two experimental groups on state mindfulness measures directly following TC and TI rationales and practices. No significant differences were observed between the TC and TI conditions for usability or perceived accuracy of the rationales and practices, and self-reported previous mindfulness experience did not predict one’s likelihood of providing qualitative misconceptions.
When taught TI mindfulness meditation material, participants were more likely to respond with TI information even though state mindfulness measures after practice did not differ from the TC condition. Results and limitations are discussed, along with suggestions for future research directions and practice implications.
KeywordsMindfulness Meditation Misconceptions State mindfulness
Special thanks to the UNT Contextual Psychology Group for help with this project.
EL: designed and executed the study, conducted data analyses, and wrote the manuscript. AM: supervised the project and study design, contributed to the data analytic strategy, and contributed substantially to the editing and finalization of this manuscript. Both authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This study was approved by the University of North Texas Institutional Review Board.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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