While mindfulness is a growing field of research, divergent and conflated meanings are limiting deeper interdisciplinary research. Interventions designed in one practice context may not be useful in other contexts because meaning is not transferred between settings. This review clarifies the various research domains that study mindfulness and the conceptual and operational definitions in each domain.

The results from the scoping review show three shared domains in mindfulness classifications: short-term effects of mindfulness, long-term effects of mindfulness, and mindfulness practices. The results from the content mapping show four domains of mindfulness research: mental health, behavioural change, cognitive neuroscience, and ethical mindfulness. Operational definitions of mindfulness are not articulated clearly in these domains.

Scholars in the ethical mindfulness domain will need solid conceptual and operational definitions to support their research efforts.