Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ-15)
The Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ-15) is a 15 question self-report scale that measures mindfulness with regards to thoughts, experiences, and actions in daily life (Baer, Carmody, & Hunsinger, 2012). The FFMQ-15 measures 5 subscales of mindfulness:
- Acting with Awareness
In clinical practice it can be helpful to measure mindfulness as increases in mindfulness are related to decreases in distress and other psychological symptoms. Studies on a large-scale population including students, professionals, and clinically depressed individuals showed that FFMQ-15 is a predictor for positive thinking, an overall uplifted mood, and subjective feelings of well-being (Baer et al., 2006; Bohlmeijer, Ten Klooster, Fledderus, Veehof, & Baer, 2011).
The scores of all five subscales of the FFMQ give a reliable measure of mindful self-awareness and can also guide how effective a mindfulness intervention has been. The FFMQ-15 is useful to determine whether individuals who practice mindfulness are becoming more mindful over time or whether low mindfulness could be affecting psychological health. The scale can be used with clinical or non-clinical populations 16 years and up.
Items for the FFMQ-15 were selected from the original, long-form FFMQ-39. The five facet scales of the FFMQ demonstrated adequate to good internal consistency, with alpha coefficients ranging from .75 to .91 and the measure was found to be sensitive to change over the course of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT; Baer et al., 2006).
Kim et al. (2021) produced normative data for the scale with 538 ethnically diverse College students. The average scores and standard deviations were obtained as follows:
- Total Score 3.18 (1.19)
- Observation 2.98 (1.23)
- Description 3.23 (1.67)
- Acting with Awareness 3.46 (1.12)
- Non-judgemental 3.46 (1.19)
- Non-reactivity 2.77 (1.10)
Gu et al. (2016) found that the factor structures of the FFMQ-15 were not stable before and after MBCT (Gu et al., 2016). Before MBCT a four-factor structure without the Observing subscale best fit the data but after MBCT a five-factor structure provided the best fit. Therefore, it is recommended that the observing subscale score is removed from comparisons of total scale/subscale scores before and after mindfulness interventions. The results from Gu et al.’s (2016) sample of 238 depressed clients were as follows:
- Observation 2.99 (0.91)
- Description 3.28 (0.91)
- Acting with Awareness 3.03 (0.75)
- Non-judgemental 3.14 (0.89)
- Non-reactivity 2.86 (0.77)
Scoring and Interpretation
Results consist of a total average score and five subscale. Average scores are calculated by summing the responses and dividing by the number of items, and indicate the average level of agreement with the each subscale (1 = rarely true, 5 = always true). Higher scores are indicative of someone who is more mindful in their everyday life.
The five subscales are:
- Observation (items 1, 6, 11): how we see, feel, and perceive the internal and external world around us and select the stimuli that require our attention and focus.
- Description (items 2, 7, 12): the way we label our experiences and express them in words to ourselves and others.
- Acting with Awareness (items 3, 8, 13): the movements we choose after attending to the information present at the moment. Determines whether we act out of quick judgment and get out of ‘autopilot mode’ before responding to a situation.
- Non-judgmental (items 4, 9, 14): ability to be non-judgmental regarding our inner experience. It measures self-acceptance and empathy for oneself and others.
- Non-reactivity (items 5, 10, 15): active detachment from negative thoughts and emotions so that we can accept their existence and choose not to react to them.
Percentiles are also computed in comparison to a young adult sample (Kim et al., 2021). Interpretation via percentiles can be helpful to contextualise a respondent’s pattern of responding in comparison to a non-clinical, ethnically diverse population. For example, a score at the 50th percentile is indicative of an average level of mindfulness for a non-clinical individual.
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(7), 755–765. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.21865
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(1), 27–45. https://doi.org/10.1177/1073191105283504
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 facet mindfulness questionnaire in meditating and nonmeditating samples. Assessment, 15(3), 329–342. https://doi.org/10.1177/1073191107313003
Bohlmeijer, E., ten Klooster, P. M., Fledderus, M., Veehof, M., & Baer, R. (2011). Psychometric properties of the five facet mindfulness questionnaire in depressed adults and development of a short form. Assessment, 18(3), 308–320. https://doi.org/10.1177/1073191111408231
Chowdhury, M. R. (2021). The Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ). PositivePsychology.com. Retrieved from https://positivepsychology.com/five-facet-mindfulness-questionnaire-ffmq/
Gu, J., Strauss, C., Crane, C., Barnhofer, T., Karl, A., Cavanagh, K., & Kuyken, W. (2016). Examining the factor structure of the 39-item and 15-item versions of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire before and after mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for people with recurrent depression. Psychological Assessment, 28(7), 791–802. https://doi.org/10.1037/pas0000263
Kim, H., Li, N., Broyles, A., Musoka, L., & Correa-Fernández, V. (2021). Validity of the 15-item five-facet mindfulness questionnaire among an ethnically diverse sample of university students. Journal of American College Health: J of ACH, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2021.1892700