Original Research

The psychometric properties of the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) and Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI) as measures of mindfulness and their relationship with burnout and work engagement

Martina Kotzé, Petrus Nel
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 42, No 1 | a1366 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v42i1.1366 | © 2016 Martina Kotzé, Petrus Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 April 2016 | Published: 25 October 2016

About the author(s)

Martina Kotzé, Business School, University of the Free State, South Africa
Petrus Nel, Department of Industrial Psychology, University of the Free State, South Africa

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Orientation: Given the increasing interest in mindfulness in the workplace, recent research recommends that the psychometric properties of existing mindfulness measures be evaluated in terms of convergent and predictive validity.

Research purpose: The research purpose was to assess the psychometric properties of the 15-item (short version) Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) and the 14-item (short version) Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI) in parallel on a South African sample. Furthermore, the research aimed to investigate the convergent validity between the FMI and MAAS as well as their relationship to burnout and work engagement (predictive validity).

Motivation for the study: Organisational scholars must investigate the most appropriate instruments for measuring mindfulness in the workplace. Doing so would allow an eventual meta-analysis on the construct and its relationships and utility in the workplace.

Research design, approach and methodology: For this study, a quantitative cross-sectional survey research design was employed. Convenience sampling was chosen and 497 participants applying for admission to a management and leadership degree programme at a South African Business School participated in the study. All participants of the sample are employed at either private or public institutions. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to determine the convergent validity of the instruments. Cronbach’s alpha was utilised in determining the reliabilities of the instruments. The product–moment correlation by Pearson was used to compare the two instruments in terms of their relationship to burnout and work engagement. Stepwise multiple regression was used to determine whether the FMI and MAAS are significant predictors of burnout and work engagement (predictive validity).

Main findings: The results showed that the short versions of both the FMI and the MAAS are valid and reliable unidimensional measures of mindfulness. The findings showed that the two instruments are moderately correlated, providing adequate evidence of convergent validity. With regards to predictive validity, both the FMI and MAAS showed statistically significant relations with burnout and work engagement. Yet, the MAAS showed higher correlations with these constructs. A similar picture emerged with regards to the stepwise multiple regression results. The MAAS was the only significant predictor of burnout, explaining 12% of the variance. Both the MAAS and FMI were significant predictors of work engagement. The MAAS explained 13% of the variance in work engagement while the FMI explained 3% of the variance.

Practical/managerial implications: Given these results, the MAAS currently seems to be a more appropriate measurement of mindfulness in the workplace given its ability to better predict work engagement and burnout than the FMI.

Contribution/value-add: The study has provided much needed empirical evidence on the psychometric properties of the FMI and MAAS as measures of mindfulness on a South African sample.


mindfulness; psychometric properties; mindfulness attention and awareness scale; Freiburg Mindfulness Indicator


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