Abstract ID: 1160

Primary Topic: Research Methodology
Secondary Topic: Mind-body (including meditation and yoga)

Is Mindfulness Immeasurable? Discovery and Dialogue of Conceptual, Practical, Scientific, and Experiential Solutions
David Victorson, PhD; Carol Greco, PhD, , Pittsburgh, PA, United States; Eric Garland, PhD; Adam Hanley, PhD, Center on Mindfulness and Integrative Health Intervention Development, Salt Lake City, UT, United States

Late Breaker: No

Overview

Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) have a prominent place in public health and clinical research yet a significant gap still remains in mindfulness research: the lack of a comprehensive and standardized self-report measurement system. Due to the sheer number of available mindfulness measurement tools, each measuring different concepts in different ways, it is difficult to establish whether MBI participants actually develop mindfulness skills and attitudes, whether health outcomes can be attributed to intervention gains, and whether mindfulness itself is the active ingredient in MBIs. Due to this veritable “mindfulness alphabet soup” it is not possible to compare findings from one trial with another. Further, “response shift” can add to confusion when one experiences a recalibration in understanding of what mindfulness is after being exposed. In other words, there is a paradox inherent in mindfulness measurement - if one is not mindful, how can one be aware enough to assess their degree of mindfulness? And, it is only when one becomes more mindful through training that they can begin to recognize when they are not exhibiting mindfulness. This symposium session will address this topic through three presentations focusing on: 1) Challenges and possible solutions to measuring mindfulness and related constructs drawing from the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS); 2)  Psychophysiological alternatives to assessing mindfulness via self-report; and 3) A brief overview of the methodology and focus group findings of a new NCCIH-funded R01 entitled COMMENCE (CREATING AND OPTIMIZING MINDFULNESS MEASURES TO ENHANCE AND NORMALIZE CLINICAL EVALUATION -R01AT009539), including experiential practice and dialogue on some of the big questions surrounding mindfulness measurement. 

Rationale

The scientific premise behind this symposium is that it will generate important knowledge and discussion surrounding mindfulness measurement and how PROMIS and other methodologies can help enhance and standardize future efforts, and ultimately reshape the mindfulness measurement landscape.

Objectives

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Describe common measurement challenges for mindfulness and related constructs
  • Identify ways in which PROMIS-based methodologies (e.g., item development, item response theory, item-banking, computer adaptive testing, score linking) can help enhance and standardize mindfulness measurement
  • Recognize common real-world lessons learned from clinical trials research experiences
  • Increase understanding of a new NCCIH-funded effort to improve mindfulness measurement
  • Engage in critical reflection and dialogue around these issues.

Methods/Session Format

A. Introduction (Moderator David Victorson, 10 min):

     1. Opening - guided mindful moment

     2. Introduction of the symposium and each panelist

     3. Introduction of the 3 different talks

B. Presentation I (Eric Garland, 12 minutes): Mindfulness and Meditation-Induced States of Consciousness as Outcomes in Integrative Clinical Trials Research: Lessons Learned from the Trenches

C. Presentation II (David Victorson, 12 minutes): Challenges and Possible Solutions to Measuring Mindfulness and Related Constructs

D. Presentation III: (Carol Greco, 12 minutes): Highlights from the NCCIH-Funded COMMENCE R01

E. Dialogue with Audience and Group Experiential Practice on Some of the Big Questions Surrounding Mindfulness Measurement (All speakers, 10 minutes)

F. Final summation by moderator (4 min)

Outline

A. Introduction

B. Presentation I: Mindfulness and Meditation-Induced States of Consciousness as Outcomes in Integrative Clinical Trials Research: Lessons Learned from the Trenches. This talk will provide real world examples from several clinical mindfulness studies, as well as new data from novel measures of deeper meditative states, including nondual awareness.

C. Presentation II: Challenges and Possible Solutions to Measuring Mindfulness and Related Constructs. This talk will provide an overview of some of biggest challenges to measuring mindfulness, and transition to some possibly solutions based on item response theory methods and score linking/equating.

D. Presentation III: Highlights from the NCCIH-Funded COMMENCE R01

E. Q&A, Dialogues and Experiential Practice on Some of the Big Questions Surrounding Mindfulness Measurement.  

F. Summary & Conclusion