In recent years, the construct of mindfulness has garnered increased attention for its therapeutic properties. Mindfulness can be most broadly defined as the process of attending to present moment experiences in a nonjudgmental manner (Kabat-Zinn, 1990; Linehan, 1993; Baer, Smith, Hopkins, Krietemeyer, & Toney, 2006). Due to the efficacy of mindfulness-based therapies, a number of these interventions have been implemented in the VA system across clinical contexts. In PTSD treatment specifically, mindfulness-based interventions are often used as supplements to Evidence Based Psychotherapies (EBP’s) for PTSD to facilitate increased awareness and acceptance of internal experiences (King et al., 2013; Kearney et al., 2012; Niles et al., 2012;Walser et al., 2015; Meyers, Landes, & Thuras, 2014; Polusny, Erbes, & Thuras, 2015). Additionally, EBP’s for PTSD may actually foster the development of mindfulness skills. While mindfulness-based interventions show promise in addressing symptoms of PTSD, much remains to be researched about the processes through which mindfulness affects this psychopathology.
In order to investigate how mindfulness affects PTSD symptoms, it is crucial to establish empirically supported measures of this construct. One of the most researched assessments of mindfulness is the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) (Baer, Smith, Hopkins, Krietemeyer, & Toney, 2006). Not only has the FFMQ been well researched, but it is widely accessible for use in the VA health care system through Mental Health Assistant. While the FFMQ is available across VA medical centers, limited information exists regarding the use of this measure to interpret clinically significant changes in functioning. To address these gaps in the literature, the goal of the current study was to develop norms for the FFMQ to increase its clinical utility. To establish these norms, 145 Veterans completed the FFMQ in addition to other measures as part of standard care in a PTSD-Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program (RRTP). Exploratory factor analyses were used to evaluate the factor structure of the FFMQ, resulting in a 5-factor, internally consistent solution, accounting for 44.5% of the model’s variance. Norms were established that identified an average total score of 106.32 on the FFMQ. Additionally, factor subscale norms revealed averages of 21.50 for acting with awareness, 21.20 for describing, 21.32 for nonjudging, 24.83 for observing, and 17.62 for nonreactivity. Based on these findings, clinical and practical implications are discussed and next steps in this line of research are identified.