A Metacognitive Perspective on Mindfulness: An Empirical Investigation
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBMC Psychology 2015 10.1186/s40359-015-0081-4
Background: The primary aim of this study was to explore how metacognition, as implicated in Wells and Matthews’ metacognitive theory of emotional disorder, might relate to the concept of mindfulness, and whether metacognition or mindfulness best predicted symptoms of emotional disorder. Methods: Data was collected from 224 community controls on the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), the Metacognitions Questionnaire-30 (MCQ-30), the Patient Health Questionnaire 9-item (PHQ-9), the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7), and the Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory Revised (OCI-R). Results: The MCQ-30 and FFMQ subscales constituted two latent factors which appeared to assess metacognition and mindfulness. The FFMQ subscales nonjudging of inner experience and acting with awareness loaded on metacognition, while observing, nonreacting to inner experience and describing formed a unique mindfulness factor. Metacognition correlated strongly with symptoms of depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Regression analyses found metacognition to be an important predictor of symptoms explaining between 42 % and 49 % of the variance when controlling for age and gender, while mindfulness was a weaker predictor explaining between 0 % and 2 % of the variance in symptoms. Conclusions: The structure amongst scales and the pattern of correlations with symptoms were generally consistent with the metacognitive theory which focuses on metacognitive beliefs, enhancing awareness of thoughts and disengaging extended processing.