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Behav Ther. 2013 Sep;44(3):373-84. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2013.02.001. Epub 2013 Feb 26.

Mapping mindfulness facets onto dimensions of anxiety and depression.

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Yale University, School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, New Haven, CT 06508, USA.


Mindfulness has been associated with anxiety and depression, but the ways in which specific facets of mindfulness relate to symptoms of anxiety and depression remains unclear. The purpose of the current study was to investigate associations between specific facets of mindfulness (e.g., observing, describing, nonjudging, acting with awareness, and nonreactivity) and dimensions of anxiety and depression symptoms (e.g., anxious arousal, general distress-anxiety, general distress-depression, and anhedonic depression) while controlling for shared variance among variables. Participants were 187 treatment-seeking adults. Mindfulness was measured using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire and symptoms of depression and anxiety were measured using the Mood and Anxiety Symptom Questionnaire. Bivariate correlations showed that all facets of mindfulness were significantly related to all dimensions of anxiety and depression, with two exceptions: describing was unrelated to general distress-anxiety, and observing was unrelated to all symptom clusters. Path analysis was used to simultaneously examine associations between mindfulness facets and depression and anxiety symptoms. Significant and marginally significant pathways were retained to construct a more parsimonious model and model fit indices were examined. The parsimonious model indicated that nonreactivity was significantly inversely associated with general distress anxiety symptoms. Describing was significantly inversely associated with anxious arousal, while observing was significantly positively associated with it. Nonjudging and nonreactivity were significantly inversely related to general distress-depression and anhedonic depression symptomatology. Acting with awareness was not significantly associated with any dimensions of anxiety or depression. Findings support associations between specific facets of mindfulness and dimensions of anxiety and depression and highlight the potential utility of targeting these specific aspects of mindfulness in interventions for anxiety and mood disorders.

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