Assessing Adolescent Mindfulness: Validation of an Adapted Mindful Attention Awareness Scale in Adolescent Normative and Psychiatric Populations

  • Brown K
  • West A
  • Loverich T
 et al. 
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Abstract

Interest in mindfulness-based interventions for children and adolescents is burgeoning, bringing with it the need for validated instruments to assess mindfulness in youths. The present studies were designed to validate among adolescents a measure of mindfulness previously validated for adults (e.g., Brown & Ryan, 2003), which we herein call the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale—Adolescent (MAAS–A). In 2 large samples of healthy 14-to 18-year-olds (N ϭ 595), Study 1 supported a single-factor MAAS–A structure, along with acceptably high internal consistency, test–retest reliability, and both concurrent and incremental validity. In Study 2, with a sample of 102 psychiatric outpatient adolescents age 14 –18 years, participants randomized to a mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention showed significant in-creases in MAAS–A scores from baseline to 3-month follow-up, relative to nonsignificant score changes among treatment-as-usual participants. Increases in MAAS–A scores among mindfulness-based stress reduction participants were significantly related to beneficial changes in numerous mental health indicators. The findings support the reliability and validity of the MAAS–A in normative and mixed psychiatric adolescent populations and suggest that the MAAS–A has utility in mindfulness intervention research. With increased interest in mindfulness-based and mindfulness-integrated interventions for medical, psychiatric, and healthy stressed populations (Baer, 2003; Brown, Ryan, & Creswell, 2007) has come a recognition of the importance of assessing the phe-nomenon itself. There are several reasons for such assessment (Brown & Cordon, 2009), including the basic scientific principle that a phenomenon can be studied only if it can be properly defined and measured. Behavioral scientists have conceptualized mindful-ness in two predominant ways.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Mindful Attention Awareness Scale
  • Mindfulness
  • Validation

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