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Measuring Psychological Mechanisms in Meditation Practice: Using a Phenomenologically Grounded Classification System to Develop Theory-Based Composite Scores

Schlosser, M; Barnhofer, T; Requier, F; Deza-Araujo, YI; Abdoun, O; Marchant, NL; Chételat, G; ... Wingrove, J; + view all (2022) Measuring Psychological Mechanisms in Meditation Practice: Using a Phenomenologically Grounded Classification System to Develop Theory-Based Composite Scores. Mindfulness 10.1007/s12671-021-01816-0. (In press).

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Abstract

Objectives: Deepening our understanding of the mechanisms by which meditation practices impact well-being and human flourishing is essential for advancing the science of meditation. A recent phenomenologically grounded classification system distinguishes attentional, constructive, and deconstructive forms of meditation based on the psychological mechanisms these practices primarily target or necessitate. Our main aim was to understand whether this theory-based taxonomy could be used as a guiding principle for combining established psychological self-report measures of meditation-related mechanisms into psychometrically adequate composite scores. Methods: We used cross-sectional data to compute meditation composite scores in three independent samples, namely meditation-naïve healthy older adults from the Age-Well trial (n = 135), meditation-naïve older adults with subjective cognitive decline from the SCD-Well trial (n = 147), and healthy long-term meditators (≥ 10,000 h of practice including one 3-year meditation retreat) from the Brain & Mindfulness project (n = 29). The psychometric properties of the composite scores were assessed via floor and ceiling effects, composite intercorrelations, interpretability, and convergent validity in relation to well-being, anxiety, and depression. Results: Three theoretically derived meditation composite scores, reflecting mechanisms involved in attentional, constructive, and deconstructive practices, displayed adequate psychometric properties. Separate secondary confirmatory factor analyses empirically corroborated the theoretically predicted three-factor structure of this classification system. Conclusions: Complementing data-driven approaches, this study offers preliminary support for using a theoretical model of meditation-related mechanisms to create empirically meaningful and psychometrically sound composite scores. We conclude by suggesting conceptual and methodological considerations for future research in this area.

Type: Article
Title: Measuring Psychological Mechanisms in Meditation Practice: Using a Phenomenologically Grounded Classification System to Develop Theory-Based Composite Scores
DOI: 10.1007/s12671-021-01816-0
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01816-0
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Expert meditators, Meta-awareness, Mindfulness, Compassion, Well-being, Mental health
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10143887
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