Academic journal article Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development

Measurement Invariance of the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale across Adult Attachment Style

Academic journal article Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development

Measurement Invariance of the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale across Adult Attachment Style

Article excerpt

In this study, the authors examine the measurement invariance of the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) across adult attachment style. A 1-factor model and measurement invariance was supported across groups. As predicted, latent mean differences showed that securely attached individuals reported significantly more mindfulness than did insecurely attached individuals, providing construct validity evidence for the MAAS.

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Mindfulness refers to the process of being attentive to and aware of events and experiences occurring in the present moment (Kabat-Zinn, 1994). Cultivating mindfulness through the practice of meditation has a long history in various spiritual traditions, particularly in Buddhism (Dunn, Hartigan, & Mikulas, 1999). In those settings, mindfulness meditation is practiced because it is believed to provide insight into the nature of the mind and the roots of emotional suffering.

In recent years, mindfulness-based practices have been increasingly incorporated into clinical interventions and wellness programs that are offered in counseling, medical, and mental health settings (Baer, 2003). Frequently cited interventions incorporating mindfulness practices include Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (Kabat-Zinn, 1982), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (Linehan, 1993), relapse prevention (Marlatt & Gordon, 1985), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 1999). A growing body of empirical evidence indicates that participation in these interventions is associated with greater well-being in community, clinical, and student populations (e.g., Baer, 2003; Christopher, Christopher, Dunnagan, & Schure, 2006; Hayes, Luoma, Bond, Masuda, & Lillis, 2006; Robins & Chapman, 2004).

The growing popularity of mindfulness training in the counseling and clinical fields can be attributed to two factors. First is the realization on the part of researchers and practitioners in the areas of consciousness and health care that mindfulness is not a philosophy tied to a particular faith system, but rather a broad practice with universal applications. In particular, mindfulness increases self-awareness, which facilitates recognition of maladaptive cognitions, emotions, and behaviors. These insights tend to promote healthier ways of thinking and behaving, which results in greater well-being (Kabat-Zinn, 2003).

The second contributing factor is a growing body of research indicating that the enhancement of mindfulness is associated with various well-being outcomes, including reduced symptomatology in persons with medical disorders (Kabat-Zinn, Lipworth, & Burney, 1985; Reibel, Greeson, Brainard, & Rosenzweig, 2001); improved psychological functioning in clinical populations (Kristeller & Hallett, 1999; Teasdale et al., 2000); better immune functioning and overall well-being in both community and clinical populations (L. E. Carlson, Speca, Patel, & Goodey, 2003; Davidson et al., 2003; Williams, Kolar, Reger, & Pearson, 2001); and less stress, anxiety, and depression in student populations (Astin, 1997; Rosenzweig, Reibel, Greeson, Brainard, & Hojat, 2003; Shapiro, Schwartz, & Bonner, 1998). In addition, mindfulness has correlated positively with emotional intelligence and self-compassion and negatively with neuroticism, alexithymia, and dissociation (Baer, Smith, Hopkins, Krietemeyer, & Toney, 2006).

MEASURING MINDFULNESS

Despite the fact that mindfulness interventions are now widely available in counseling, medical, and mental health settings and that the literature strongly supports the efficacy of mindfulness training, the assessment of mindfulness has received limited attention to date. Mindfulness assessments are necessary for several important reasons. First, they are needed in the evaluation of interventions that incorporate mindfulness skills, providing a means to assess participants' acquisition of these skills. …

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