Open Access Research article

A mediation model of mindfulness and decentering: sequential psychological constructs or one and the same?

Judith Gecht12*, Ramona Kessel1, Thomas Forkmann1, Siegfried Gauggel1, Barbara Drueke1, Anne Scherer1 and Verena Mainz1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstr. 19, 52074 Aachen, Germany

2 Institute of Psychology, RWTH Aachen University, J├Ągerstr. 17-19, 52066 Aachen, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Psychology 2014, 2:18  doi:10.1186/2050-7283-2-18

Published: 7 July 2014



Mindfulness and decentering are closely related processes both assumed to promote well-being. While some researchers claim that mindfulness and decentering can be clearly differentiated others suggest to use these concepts interchangeably. The precise relation between mindfulness and decentering remains unclear and therefore the present study aims to determine the relation between mindfulness and decentering.


In a structural equation modeling framework, a mediation model was tested among a sample group of 495 university students (average age 20.8 years, 30.3% female).


The identified model shows an acceptable fit to the data and illustrates the role of decentering as a mediator of the relationship between mindfulness and depressive symptoms by complementary mediation and indirect-only mediation.


The present results cannot sustain previous research, which converted mindfulness and decentering into one single variable. Rather the data suggests to treat mindfulness and decentering as two separable concepts and to regard decentering as an important working mechanism of mindfulness.

Mindfulness; Decentering; Mechanism of change; Multiple mediation modeling; Structural equation modeling