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We investigated whether three different meditation practices that are commonly used in mindfulness-based interventions lead to differential changes in psychological health outcomes when presented separately. Participants included 141 undergraduates assigned to a sitting meditation, body scan, or mindful yoga condition. Participants in all conditions attended three weekly 1-h sessions (105 min of guided meditation and 75 min of discussion) in addition to pre- and post-intervention questionnaires collected in separate sessions. Participants reported significant improvements in the tendency to describe one’s experience, rumination, self-compassion, and psychological well-being regardless of condition. The following between-group differences in change over time emerged: (1) mindful yoga was associated with greater increases in psychological well-being than the other two practices, (2) sitting meditation and mindful yoga were both associated with greater decreases in difficulties with emotion regulation than the body scan, and (3) sitting meditation was associated with greater increases in the tendency to take a nonevaluative stance toward observed stimuli than the body scan.
Previous research on assessment of mindfulness by self-report suggests that it may include five component skills: observing, describing, acting with awareness, nonjudging of inner experience, and nonreactivity to inner experience. These elements of mindfulness can be measured with the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ). The authors investigated several aspects of the construct validity of the FFMQ in experienced meditators and nonmeditating comparison groups. Consistent with predictions, most mindfulness facets were significantly related to meditation experience and to psychological symptoms and well-being. As expected, relationships between the observing facet and psychological adjustment varied with meditation experience. Regression and mediation analyses showed that several of the facets contributed independently to the prediction of well-being and significantly mediated the relationship between meditation experience and well-being. Findings support the construct validity of the FFMQ in a combination of samples not previously investigated.