The Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness – Youth Version (MAIA-Y) is an 8-scale state-trait questionnaire with 32 items to measure multiple dimensions of interoception (body awareness). The MAIA-Y is suitable for use with youths between 7 – 17 years of age. There is a parallel adult version (MAIA-2) for use with individuals 18+ years of age.
Interoception refers to the sensation, interpretation, and integration of internal somatic signals (Eggart et al., 2021). There is compelling evidence demonstrating links between poor interoceptive awareness and difficulties with emotion regulation (Price & Hooven, 2018). Therefore, it can be beneficial to measure interoception in a therapeutic setting because effective emotion regulation involves the ability to accurately detect and evaluate cues related to physiological reactions to stressful events. The therapist and client can then work together on appropriate regulation strategies that temper and influence the emotional response.
The MAIA consists of 8 scales (addressing 5 dimensions of body awareness):
The MAIA-Y (Jones et al., 2020) is based on the original MAIA (Mehling et al., 2012), with modifications made to simplify the language of each statement. Cronbach’s alpha ranged from 0.36 – 0.78, with the Not-Distracting (0.36), Noticing (0.43), Not-Worrying (0.47), and Body Listening (0.69) scales being below 0.70 (Jones et al., 2020).
A validation study by Jones et al. (2020), based upon a convenience sample of children aged 7–10 years (n= 212) and adolescents aged 11–17 years (n= 217), provided means and standard deviations for all 8 scales for each age (7 – 15+). Age is an important component in the MAIA-Y as results from Jones et al. (2020) found a negative linear relationship between the trusting scale and age, suggesting that youths may lose trust in their body as they age.
The results from the MAIA-Y focuses upon the individual scale scores (between 0 and 5), where higher score equates to more awareness of bodily sensation. A percentile is also calculated, indicating how the responded scored in comparison to an age related normative sample. Interpretation using percentiles helps contextualise scores. For example, percentile below 50 indicate that the individual scored below what is typical. Extreme percentile scores (below 10 or above 90) are of particular clinical significance.
The MAIA consists of eight scales:
Jones, A., Silas, J., Todd, J., Stewart, A., Acree, M., Coulson, M., & Mehling, W. E. (2021). Exploring the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness in youth aged 7-17 years. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 77(3), 661–682. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.23067
Eggart, M., Todd, J., & Valdés-Stauber, J. (2021). Validation of the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA-2) questionnaire in hospitalized patients with major depressive disorder. PloS One, 16(6), e0253913. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0253913
Mehling, W. E., Price, C., Daubenmier, J. J., Acree, M., Bartmess, E., & Stewart, A. (2012). The Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA). PloS One, 7(11), e48230. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0048230
Price, C. J., & Hooven, C. (2018). Interoceptive Awareness Skills for Emotion Regulation: Theory and Approach of Mindful Awareness in Body-Oriented Therapy (MABT). Frontiers in psychology, 9, 798. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00798