Responding mindfully to unpleasant thoughts and images: Reliability and validity of the Southampton mindfulness questionnaire (SMQ)


Correspondence should be addressed to Professor Paul Chadwick, Department of Psychiatry, Royal South Hants Hospital, Southampton SO14 OYG, UK, (e-mail:



To assess the reliability and validity of the Southampton mindfulness questionnaire (SMQ), a 16-item measure of mindful awareness of distressing thoughts and images.


A total of 256 people participated, comprising a non-clinical community sample of 134 (83 meditators and 51 non-meditators) and a clinical sample of 122 people with a current distressing psychosis. To assess concurrent validity, non-clinical participants and half clinical participants (total 197 participants) completed the mindful attention awareness scale (MAAS). Predicted links were assessed with affect, and 59 patients completed a validated measure to assess link between mindfulness and intensity of ‘delusional’ experience.


The scale has a single factor structure, was internally reliable, significantly correlated with the MAAS, showed expected associations with affect, and distinguished among meditators, non-meditators and people with psychosis.


The data support use of the SMQ in clinical practice and research to assess mindful responding to distressing thoughts and images.