Skip to main content


Log in

Differential Contribution of the Five Facets of Mindfulness to Well-being and Psychological Distress

  • Published:
Mindfulness Aims and scope Submit manuscript



Mindfulness has been shown to have beneficial effects with regard to improving well-being and lowering levels of distress. The Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) has identified facets reflecting distinct mindfulness capacities, but it is not known yet to what extent they contribute individually to important outcomes such as well-being and distress. This study aimed to identify the most relevant facets and their unique contributions to distress and well-being to potentially enhance mindfulness-based interventions targeting these outcomes.


The present study assessed dispositional mindfulness, well-being and psychological distress in a sample of young adults (n = 239) and analyzed the differential contributions of mindfulness facets to distress and well-being outcome variables using stepwise multiple linear regression analyses.


Individual differences in well-being and distress levels were best explained by different facets of mindfulness. The Nonreacting facet was the strongest contributor to well-being explaining 25% of variance in well-being scores, and after accounting for its contribution, Describing was the second largest contributor explaining additional 9%. In contrast, Acting with awareness was the strongest inverse contributor to distress explaining 20% variance and after controlling for it, Nonreacting explained merely 7% of additional differences in distress scores. After accounting for these main contributors, other facets explained only negligible amount of variance or were non-significant contributors.


The present study indicates that different capacities contribute differentially to well-being and distress. These findings may be useful for enhancing effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions by tailoring practices to target well-being or psychological distress.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


Download references


This study is part of doctoral work of the first author. The study was funded by the New Zealand Defence Force.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



AR conducted the data analyses and wrote the manuscript. AS collaborated with writing and editing of the manuscript. CG collaborated with the design and the data collection and edited the manuscript. OM collaborated with the data analyses, writing, and editing of the manuscript. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Anja Roemer.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This research was approved by the Ethics Committee of the New Zealand Defence Force.

Informed Consent Statement

All participants provided informed consent prior to completing this study.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Roemer, A., Sutton, A., Grimm, C. et al. Differential Contribution of the Five Facets of Mindfulness to Well-being and Psychological Distress. Mindfulness 12, 693–700 (2021).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: