, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 553–559 | Cite as

Does Change in Self-reported Mindfulness Mediate the Clinical Benefits of Mindfulness Training? A Controlled Study Using the French Translation of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire

  • Alexandre HeerenEmail author
  • Sandrine Deplus
  • Virginie Peschard
  • François Nef
  • Ilios Kotsou
  • Christophe Dierickx
  • Laurie Mondillon
  • Donald J. Robinaugh
  • Pierre Philippot


Mindfulness training improves mental health and psychological functioning. Although several questionnaires have been developed to measure mindfulness, the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) is currently one of the most widely used scales. However, uncertainty remains about whether the effects of mindfulness training can be unambiguously attributed to change in self-reported mindfulness. The present study was designed to answer three major questions: First, relative to a wait-list group, does participation in mindfulness training lead to changes in self-reported mindfulness among a mixed sample of individuals presenting stress-related problems, illness, anxiety, and chronic pain? Second, are changes in mindfulness associated with changes in psychological distress? Third, do changes in mindfulness mediate the effects of mindfulness training on the decrease in psychological distress? We used the French translation of the FFMQ in a Belgian sample. Relative to a wait-list control, mindfulness training led to a change in self-reported mindfulness and psychological distress. Further, changes in mindfulness mediated the effects of mindfulness training on a decrease in psychological distress.


Mindfulness training FFMQ MBIs 



Dr. Alexandre Heeren (postdoctoral research fellow) is funded by the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S.-FNRS, Belgium). The writing of this paper also received the support from the Belgian Foundation “Vocatio” (awarded to Dr. Alexandre Heeren). These foundations did not exert any editorial direction or censorship on any part of this article.


  1. Baer, R. A. (2003). Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: a conceptual and empirical review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11, 230–241.Google Scholar
  2. Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., & Allen, K. B. (2004). Assessment of mindfulness by self-report: the Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills. Assessment, 11, 191–206.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Hopkins, J., Krietemeyer, J., & Toney, L. (2006). Using self-report assessment methods to explore facets of mindfulness. Assessment, 13, 27–45.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Lykins, E., Button, D., Krietemeyer, J., Sauer, S., Walsh, E., Duggan, D., & Williams, J. M. G. (2008). Construct validity of the five facets mindfulness questionnaire in meditating and nonmeditating samples. Assessment, 15, 329–342.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Baer, R. A., Carmody, J., & Hunsinger, M. (2012). Weekly change in mindfulness and perceived stress in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 68, 755–765.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Brown, G. K. (1996). Beck Depression Inventory manual (2nd ed.). San Antonio: Psychological Corporation. French adaptation, 1998, Paris, France: Editions du Centre de Psychologie Appliquée.Google Scholar
  7. Bränström, R., Kvillemo, P., Brandberg, Y., & Moskowtiz, J. T. (2010). Self-report mindfulness as a mediator of psychological well-being in a stress reduction intervention for cancer patients—a randomized study. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 39, 151–161.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 822–848.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Buchheld, N., Grossman, P., & Walach, H. (2001). Measuring mindfulness in insight meditation (Vipassana) and meditation-based psychotherapy: the development of the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI). Journal for Meditation and Meditation Research, 1, 11–34.Google Scholar
  10. Burg, J. M., & Michalak, J. (2011). The healthy quality of mindful breathing: associations with rumination and depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 35, 179–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Campbell-Sills, L., Barlow, D. H., Brown, T. A., & Hofman, S. G. (2006). Acceptability and suppression of negative emotion in anxiety and mood disorders. Emotion, 6, 587–595.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Carmody, J., & Baer, R. A. (2008). Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical, and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of Behavioral Medecine, 31, 23–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cebolla, A., Garcia-Palacios, A., Soler, J., Guillen, V., Banos, R., & Botella, C. (2012). Psychometric properties of the Spanish validation of the Five Facets of Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ). European Journal of Psychiatry, 26, 118–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. de Bruin, E. I., Topper, M., Muskens, J. G., Bögels, S. M., & Kamphuis, J. H. (2012). Psychometric properties of the Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) in a meditating and a non-meditating sample. Assessment, 19, 187–197.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Deng, Y.-Q., Liu, X.-H., Rodriguez, M. A., & Xia, C.-Y. (2011). The Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire: psychometric properties of the Chinese version. Mindfulness, 2, 123–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Derogatis, L. R. (1977). SCL-90-R. Administration, scoring and procedures. Manual for the revised version and other instruments of the psychopathology rating series. Baltimore: School of Medicine, John Hopkins University.Google Scholar
  17. Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Lang, A., & Buchner, A. (2007). G*Power 3: a flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. Behavior Research Methods, 39(2), 175e191.Google Scholar
  18. Greenberg, J., Reiner, K., & Meiran, N. (2012). “Mind the Trap”: mindfulness practice reduces cognitive rigidity. PLoS ONE 7(5), e36206.Google Scholar
  19. Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., & Walach, H. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: a meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 57, 35–43.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Hariri, A. R., Bookheimer, S. Y., & Mazziotta, J. C. (2000). Modulating emotional responses: effects of a neocortical network on the limbic system. Neuroreport, 11, 43–48.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Heeren, A., & Philippot, P. (2011). Changes in ruminative thinking mediate the clinical benefits of mindfulness: preliminary findings. Mindfulness, 2, 8–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Heeren, A., Van Broeck, N., & Philippot, P. (2009). The effects of mindfulness on executive processes and autobiographical memory specificity. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 47, 403–409.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Heeren, A., Douilliez, C., Peschard, V., Debrauwere, L., & Philippot, P. (2011a). Cross-cultural consistency of the Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire: adaptation and validation in a French sample. European Review of Applied Psychology, 61, 147–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Heeren, A., Lievens, L., & Philippot, P. (2011b). How does attention training work in social phobia: disengagement from threat or re-engagement to non-threat? Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 25, 1108–1115.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Heeren, A., De Raedt, R., Koster, E. H. W., & Philippot, P. (2013). The (neuro)cognitive mechanisms behind attention bias modification in anxiety: proposals based on theoretical accounts of attentional bias. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7, 119.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Hofmann, S. G., Sawyer, A. T., Witt, A. A., & Oh, D. (2010). The effects of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: a meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78, 169–183.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Hollis, S., & Campbell, F. (1999). What is meant by intention to threat analysis? Survey of published randomized controlled trials. BMJ, 11, 670–674.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1982). An outpatient program in behavioral medicine for chronic pain patients based on the practice of mindfulness meditation: theoretical considerations and preliminary results. General Hospital Psychiatry, 4, 33–47.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Levitt, J., Brown, T. A., Orsillo, S. M., & Barlow, D. H. (2004). The effects of acceptance versus suppression of emotion on subjective and psychophysiological response to carbon dioxide challenge in patients with panic disorder. Behavior Therapy, 35, 747–766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lieberman, M. D., Eisenberg, N. I., Crockett, M. J., Tom, S. M., Pfeifer, J. H., & Way, B. M. (2007). Putting feelings into words: affect labelling disrupts amygdala activity to affective stimuli. Psychological Science, 18, 421–428.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Lilja, J. L., Frodi-Lundgren, A., Hanse, J. J., Josefsson, T., Lundh, L. G., Sköld, C., Hansen, E., & Broberg, A. G. (2011). Five Facets Mindfulness Quetionnaire—reliability and factor structure: a Swedish version. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 40, 291–303.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Lutz, J., Herwig, U., Opialla, S., Hittmeyer, A., Jäncke, L., Rufer, M., Grosse Holforth, M., & Brühl, A., B. (2013). Mindfulness and emotion regulation. An fMRI study. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience, in press.Google Scholar
  33. MacKinnon, D. P., Fairchild, A. J., & Fritz, M. S. (2007). Mediation analysis. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 593–614.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. MacLeod, C., Koster, E. H. W., & Fox, E. (2009). Whither cognitive bias modification research? Commentary on the special section articles. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 118, 89–99.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Philippot, P., & Segal, Z. (2009). Mindfulness based psychological interventions: developing emotional awareness for better being. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 16, 285–306.Google Scholar
  36. Raes, F., Williams, J. M. G., & Hermans, D. (2009). Reducing cognitive vulnerability to depression: a preliminary investigation of Memory Specificity Training (MEST) in inpatients with depressive symptomatology. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 40, 24–38.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Romaneli, R., & di Berardino, C. (2010). The Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire: research on a Italian sample. In C. di Berardino (Ed.), Mindfulness: an instrument for different psychopathologies. Milan, Italy: Symposium organized at the 40th Annual Congress of the European Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies.Google Scholar
  38. Segal, Z. V., Teasdale, J. D., & Williams, J. M. G. (2002). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: a new approach to preventing relapse. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  39. Shapiro, S. L., Schwartz, G. E., & Bonner, G. (1998). Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on medical and premedical students. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 139, 267–274.Google Scholar
  40. Sobel, M. E. (1982). Asymptotic intervals for indirect effects in structural equations models. In S. Leinhart (Ed.), Sociological methodology (pp. 290–312). Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.Google Scholar
  41. SPSS Inc. (2009). PASW Statistics for Windows, Version 18.0. Chicago: SPSS Inc.Google Scholar
  42. Sugiura, Y., Sato, A., Ito, Y., & Murakami, H. (2012). Development and validation of the Japanese version of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire. Mindfulness, 3, 85–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2006). Using multivariate statistics (5th ed.). Boston: Bearson/Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  44. Tatu, P., Pellet, J., Lang, F., Pichon, M., & Coerchon, C. (1994). SCL-90-R in a sample of French-speaking subjects free of psychiatric disorders. Annales Médico-Psychologiques, 152, 187–190.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Vollestad, J., Nielsen, M. N., & Nielsen, G. H. (2012). Mindfulness- and acceptance-based interventions for anxiety disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Psychology, 51, 239–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Vrielynck, N., Philippot, P., & Rimé, B. (2010). Level of processing modulates benefits of writing about stressfull events: comparing generic and specific recall. Cognition & Emotion, 24, 1117–1132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wadlinger, H. A., & Isaacowitz, D. M. (2011). Fixing our focus: training attention to regulate emotion. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 15, 75–102.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Williams, K. A., Kolar, M. M., Reger, B. E., & Pearson, J. C. (2001). Evaluation of a wellness-based mindfulness stress reduction intervention: a controlled trial. American Journal of Health Promotion, 15, 422–432.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandre Heeren
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sandrine Deplus
    • 1
  • Virginie Peschard
    • 1
  • François Nef
    • 1
  • Ilios Kotsou
    • 1
  • Christophe Dierickx
    • 2
  • Laurie Mondillon
    • 3
  • Donald J. Robinaugh
    • 4
  • Pierre Philippot
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychological Sciences Research IntstituteUniversité catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  2. 2.Unité de Psychologie Clinique Cognitive et Comportementale - Clinique Psychologique et Logopédique de l’Université de LiègeUniversité de LiègeLiègeBelgium
  3. 3.Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale et Cognitive, CNRS UMR 6024Université de Clermont-FerrandClermont-FerrandFrance
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations