To propose a three-factor framework for conceptualising and measuring mindfulness during worship, and to develop and validate a new scale using existing scales of mindfulness and spirituality.
A shortlist of scale items was developed and administered online to 521 Christians from the United Kingdom in three independent studies.
The studies confirmed a three-factor structure of the new 15-item Mindfulness during Worship Scale (MWS) with an overall internal reliability range of α = 0.81–0.87: a) concentration during worship, which contains reverse-scored items capturing the tendency for attention to slip towards unrelated activities during worship, b) presence during worship, which includes items relating to an increased awareness to thoughts and feelings as they relate to the engagement of worship, and c) absorption during worship, which includes items relating to an increased feeling of awareness and absorption in worship. Concurrent validity was confirmed, as the total MWS and subscale scores were positively associated with existing measures of mindfulness (FFMQ-15 and MAAS) and spirituality (ISS). Moreover, worship frequency predicted higher scores on all three MWS subscales, higher Scripture reading frequency predicted greater focus on religious thoughts during worship, and regular meditation practice was associated with a greater absorption during worship. The frequency of performing communal religious activities was not associated with mindfulness during worship.
The MWS is the first scale that measures mindfulness specifically within the context of worship and prayer, and can be used within any religious community that engages in prayers.
As our understanding of the role that mindfulness can play in our performance of daily activities is deepening, we are increasingly appreciating the range of benefits of high states of mindfulness for psychological health and well-being (Tomlinson, Yousaf, Vittersø, & Jones, 2018). This popularity of mindfulness research and its therapeutic application has also entered the field of religion and spirituality, where it has been argued to be either a useful supplement to religious or spiritual practices or an existing feature, albeit in a slightly different form to the popular Buddhist version, of Abrahamic religions, of which Christianity is the most widely studied in the psychological literature (e.g., Cortois, Aupers, & Houtman, 2018). The most commonly used definition of mindfulness within the psychological research literature is “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” which Kabat-Zinn (1994) developed for use in clinical research settings after studying Buddhist meditation for several years.
The results showed that initially, the 15-item three-factor model was significantly different from the data (X2 = 265.45, Df = 87, p < .001). However, given the total sample was relatively large, chi square was expected to be significant (Schumacker & Lomax, 2004), and therefore, the alternative fit indices were examined. Based on these indices, the raw model demonstrated to be a questionable fit to the data (GFI = 0.889, TLI, = 0.853, CFI = 0.878, RMSEA = 0.083, SRMR = 0.062). However, to adjust for the covariance within the subscales, modification indices were examined, and with respect to the theoretical similarities between the indicated items, several covariance restraints were placed on variable errors within the concurring latent constructs. Specifically, error correlations with modification values over 3.84 were considered, as this value corresponds with a significant change in the model fit at the 0.05 level. These included covariance between items (of the revised MWS): 1 and 4, 4 and 7, 7 and 13, 2 and 14, 5 and 14, 6 and 12, and 6 and 15. The analyses was then re-run and the revised model (Fig. 1) with covariances showed that the model was a good fit to the data (X2 = 161.92, Df = 80, p < .001, GFI = 0.932, TLI, = 0.945, CFI = 0.944, RMSEA = 0.059, SRMR = 0.053). Factor loadings of the final model were also acceptable, ranging from 0.53 to 0.76 for MWS-CW, 0.45 to 0.79 MWS-PW, and 0.61 to 0.77 for MWS-AW. Fig. 1 illustrates the model structure, standardised estimates and correlated errors of the CFA.