Recent findings have shown that mind-wandering – the occurrence of stimulus-independent and task-unrelated thoughts – is associated with negative affect and lower psychological well-being. However, it remains unclear whether this relationship is due to the occurrence of mind-wandering per se or to the fact that people who mind wander more tend to be generally less attentive to present-moment experience. In three studies, we first validate a French translation of a retrospective self-report questionnaire widely used to assess the general occurrence of mind-wandering in daily life – the Daydreaming Frequency Scale. Using this questionnaire, we then show that the relationship between mind-wandering frequency and psychological distress is fully accounted for by individual differences in dispositional mindful awareness and encoding style. These findings suggest that it may not be mind-wandering per se that is responsible for psychological distress, but rather the general tendency to be less aware and attentive to the present-moment. Thus, although mind-wandering and present-moment awareness are related constructs, they are not reducible to one another, and are distinguishable in terms of their relationship with psychological well-being.
Keywords: mind-wandering, daydreaming, mindful awareness, encoding style, psychological distress, well-being
Citation: Stawarczyk D, Majerus S, Van der Linden M and D’Argembeau A (2012) Using the daydreaming frequency scale to investigate the relationships between mind-wandering, psychological well-being, and present-moment awareness. Front. Psychology 3:363. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00363
Received: 05 July 2012; Accepted: 05 September 2012;
Published online: 25 September 2012.
Edited by:Marcel Zentner, University of York, UK
Reviewed by:John Zelenski, Carleton University, Canada
Copyright: © 2012 Stawarczyk, Majerus, Van der Linden and D’Argembeau. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.
*Correspondence: David Stawarczyk, Department of Psychology – Cognition and Behavior, University of Liège, Blvd du Rectorat 3 (B33), 4000 Liège, Belgium. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org