COSMIN database

Mindfulness: a systematic review of instruments to measure an emergent patient-reported outcome (PRO)

Park, T., Reilly-Spong, M., and Gross, C. R.
PURPOSE: Mindfulness has emerged as an important health concept based on evidence that mindfulness interventions reduce symptoms and improve health-related quality of life. The objectives of this study were to systematically assess and compare the properties of instruments to measure self-reported mindfulness.

METHODS: Ovid Medline((R)), CINAHL((R)), and PsycINFO((R)) were searched through May 2012, and articles were selected if their primary purpose was development or evaluation of the measurement properties (validity, reliability, responsiveness) of a self-report mindfulness scale. Two reviewers independently evaluated the methodological quality of the selected studies using the COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health status Measurement INstruments checklist. Discrepancies were discussed with a third reviewer and scored by consensus. Finally, a level of evidence approach was used to synthesize the results and study quality.

RESULTS: Our search strategy identified a total of 2,588 articles. Forty-six articles, reporting 79 unique studies, met inclusion criteria. Ten instruments quantifying mindfulness as a unidimensional scale (n = 5) or as a set of 2-5 subscales (n = 5) were reviewed. The Mindful Attention Awareness Scale was evaluated by the most studies (n = 27) and had positive overall quality ratings for most of the psychometric properties reviewed. The Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire received the highest possible rating ("consistent findings in multiple studies of good methodological quality") for two properties, internal consistency and construct validation by hypothesis testing. However, none of the instruments had sufficient evidence of content validity. Comprehensiveness of construct coverage had not been assessed; qualitative methods to confirm understanding and relevance were absent. In addition, estimates of test-retest reliability, responsiveness, or measurement error to guide users in protocol development or interpretation of scores were lacking.

CONCLUSIONS: Current mindfulness scales have important conceptual differences, and none can be strongly recommended based solely on superior psychometric properties. Important limitations in the field are the absence of qualitative evaluations and accepted external referents to support construct validity. Investigators need to proceed cautiously before optimizing any mindfulness intervention based on the existing scales.
Qual Life Res
1573-2649 (Electronic)
Publication year:
Symptom status:
Cognitive/mental state
Emotional state
Physical state
General health perceptions / HRQoL:
Self-rated health
Adults (18-65)
Seniors (65+)
Certain conditions originating in the perinatal period and related symptoms
Certain infections and parasitic diseases and related symptoms
Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities and related symptoms
Diseases of and symptoms related to the blood and blood-forming organs and certain disorders involving the immune mechanism
Diseases of and symptoms related to the circulatory system
Diseases of and symptoms related to the digestive system
Diseases of and symptoms related to the ear and mastoid process
Diseases of and symptoms related to the eye and adnexa
Diseases of and symptoms related to the genitourinary system
Diseases of and symptoms related to the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue
Diseases of and symptoms related to the nervous system
Diseases of and symptoms related to the respiratory system
Diseases of and symptoms related to the skin and subcutaneous tissue
Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases and related symptoms
External causes of morbidity and mortality
Injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes
Mental and behavioural disorders and related symptoms
Neoplasms and related symptoms
Pregnancy, childbirth and puerperium and related symptom
Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified
PRO / non-PRO:
Patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
1 - Questionnaires
6 - Clinical rating scales