Mindfulness has been described as a non-elaborative, non-judgmental present-centred awareness in which each thought, feeling or sensation that arises in the attention field is acknowledged and accepted as it is [1
]. Mindfulness appears as an attribute of consciousness long believed to promote well-being [5
]. Indeed, mindfulness training is related to positive psychological and physiological outcomes [6
]. A high level of mindfulness increases willingness to tolerate uncomfortable emotions and sensations [8
] and emotional acceptance [12
]. It also decreases the impact of negative emotional events and reduces time needed to recover [12
]. Mindfulness is therefore employed in the treatment of various anxiety disorders, for example in the non-clinical population for helping to cope with challenging or threatening events [12
]. Thus, it can serve as a predictor of day-to-day self-regulated behaviour and adaptability to stressful events.
Over the past 10 years, several instruments have been developed to measure dispositional mindfulness. Six main scales are available: the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS; 10), the Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills (KIMS; 18), the Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale (CAMS; 12), the Toronto Mindfulness Scale (TMS; 17), the Mindfulness Questionnaire (MQ; Chadwick P, Hember M, Mead S, Lilley B, Dagnan D: Responding mindfully to unpleasant thoughts and images: reliability and validity of the Mindfulness Questionnaire, submitted), and the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI; 7). Despite the fact that all of these tools use self-reported assessment methods to explore mindfulness and that correlations between them were found, differences do separate them [18
]. More specifically, MAAS is a 15-item instrument only focusing on attention and awareness without assessing acceptance. KIMS, developed from Linehan's Dialectical Behavior Therapy, is a 39-item tool used mainly for therapy effectiveness. CAMS is a 12-item inventory designed to measure attention, awareness, present-focus and acceptance in general daily occurrences. TMS is a 13-item instrument uniquely state oriented and is used for meditation research. MQ investigates mindfulness of the distressing thoughts and images of the mind by using a 16-item instrument. FMI has been developed qualitatively out of the original Buddhist concept of mindfulness. In its long form (30 items), it measures mindfulness as a general construct that has some interrelated attention, awareness and acceptance facets. However, it is difficult to apply to people without any background knowledge of mindfulness. The published short form (14 items) captures all aspects of the long form [7
]. It is semantically independent from a Buddhist or meditation context and is applicable to all population groups.
Whether mindfulness can be looked at from different angles, to capture the nature of the concept implies analyses of all questionnaires in parallel [7
]. On one hand, although most mindfulness measures are one-dimensional and self-reported, the multidimensional nature of mindfulness has been taken into account by several authors [18
]. Baer et al. (2006), combining several mindfulness scales (MAAS, KIMS, FMI, CAMS, MQ) into a single data set of 112 items, found five identifiable factors that are internally consistent and only modestly correlated with each other [20
]. The identifiable factors were: Observing, Describing, Acting with awareness, Nonjudging and Nonreactivity to inner experience. Derived from these studies and based on skills as defined in the Dialectical Behavior Therapy, these authors developed the 39 item version of the Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ). Further, Kohls et al. (2009) tested a one-dimensional and an alternative two-dimensional solution (Presence and Acceptance) of the FMI-14 [19
]. Whereas results suggested a heuristic value in the two-factorial solution, the one dimensional approach appeared sufficient for practical purposes. On the other hand, to what extent it is related to other constructs known to be predictive of psychological symptoms is a matter for further elucidation and investigation. For example, using KIMS and MAAS, the authors found that higher scores of mindfulness were associated with higher body satisfaction (Body Cathexis Scale; [21
]), less social anxiety (Scale for Interpersonal Behaviour; [22
]). With the KIMS, it has been shown that subjects scoring high in mindfulness exhibited better identification and description of feeling (Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20; [23
]). Further, mindfulness scores on the TMS were correlated with measures of the situational self-awareness (Situational Self-Awareness Scale; [25
]). For the FMI-14, a negative correlation was observed with anxiety and depression which is entirely due to the Acceptance factor of mindfulness [19
]. Thus, the exploration of the relationship between the existing scales of mindfulness and several measures of psychological constructs showed positive correlations with positive personality trait and well-being indicators and negative correlations with neuroticism and emotional disturbance measures [5
]. Baer et al. (2006) have specified which facets of mindfulness were responsible for these correlates [20
]. They also showed that meditation experience influenced the relationship between facets of mindfulness (FFMQ) and psychological scales [26
Finally, the uni-/multi-dimensional nature of mindfulness and its relation to other variables require further investigations involving different languages and cultures. Whereas interest in incorporating mindfulness into interventions in medicine and stress and coping in management has been increasing in recent times, French professionals coming to this field have no French language scale to assess mindfulness, its dimensional nature or its effectiveness for coping with stress.
The current study first aims to present a French validation of the short form of the FMI. The justification for choice of the FMI short form is two-fold: this scale has both a broader application in clinical contexts and in differential research contexts involving non-clinical individuals [7
]. The psychometric properties of the French FMI version were investigated in a non-clinical middle-aged working group. As the majority of the previous studies were conducted using students, little is known about how mindfulness operates in a general working population. The relationships between the tested French FMI version and psychological dimensions known to be predictors of psychological well-being and emotional disturbances are assessed. Confronted with the role mindfulness plays on emotional well-being (observed with English self-rating instruments [5
]), it is expected that subjects scoring higher in the French FMI version would score higher on the indicators of well-being and would score lower in the indicators of psychological disturbances. The second goal of the present study is to evaluate the relationship between mindfulness and stress in an adult population.