Development and Validation of the Inventory of Meditation Experiences (IME)

Nicholas T. Van Dam, Jessica Targett, Alex Burger, Jonathan N. Davies, Julieta Galante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Meditation is increasingly popular, and yet studies of meditation-related adverse effects, or experiences of unusual psychological states, have mostly focused on those of extremely unpleasant or pleasant nature, respectively, despite the wide range of possible experiences. We aimed to create an instrument to capture meditation-related experiences of varied intensity and subjective valence. Method: We collected detailed data from 886 US meditators after screening over 3000 individuals to generate a sample representative of major types of meditation practices and experience levels. Participants answered questions about meditation history, mental health, and 103 meditation-related experiences identified for the development of the Inventory of Meditation Experiences (IME). Results: Parallel analysis guided the eventual determination of factors; exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis yielded good model-to-data fit on a 30-item, 3-factor version of the scale. The total scale and subscales showed expected correlations with measures of adverse effects, meditation characteristics, and mental health symptoms. Analysis indicated utility in examining experience intensity and valence as potentially distinct or combined features of experiences. Conclusions: The IME is a psychometrically valid tool that may prove useful to assess a variety of meditation-related experiences that account for both the intensity and subjective valence of those experiences. Preregistration: While several hypotheses were preregistered (, the present study pertains only to the development and validation of the instrument.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1429-1442
Number of pages14
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Adverse effects
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Psychometrics
  • Unusual experiences


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