Measuring psychological flexibility in medical students and residents: A psychometric analysis

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23 Scopus citations


Purpose: Psychological flexibility involves mindful awareness of our thoughts and feelings without allowing them to prohibit acting consistently with our values and may have important implications for patient-centered clinical care. Although psychological flexibility appears quite relevant to the training and development of health care providers, prior research has not evaluated measures of psychological flexibility in medical learners. Therefore, we investigated the validity of our learners' responses to three measures related to psychological flexibility. Methods: Fourth-year medical students and residents (n=275) completed three measures of overlapping aspects of psychological flexibility: (1) Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II (AAQ-II); (2) Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire (CFQ); and (3) Mindful Attention and Awareness Questionnaire (MAAS). We evaluated five aspects of construct validity: content, response process, internal structure, relationship with other variables, and consequences. Results:We found good internal consistency for responses on the AAQ (α=0.93), MAAS (α=0.92), and CFQ (α=0.95). Factor analyses demonstrated a reasonable fit to previously published factor structures. As expected, scores on all three measures were moderately correlated with one another and with a measure of life satisfaction (p<0.01). Conclusion: Our findings provide preliminary evidence supporting validity of the psychological flexibility construct in a medical education sample. As psychological flexibility is a central concept underlying selfawareness, this work may have important implications for clinical training and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20932
JournalMedical Education Online
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • Assessment
  • Mindfulness
  • Psychological flexibility
  • Psychological well-being
  • Psychometrics
  • Validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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