Effects of mindfulness and distraction on pain depend upon individual differences in pain catastrophizing: an experimental study
European Journal of Pain (London, England)
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2014
Pages: 1307 - 1315
Source ID: shanti-sources-109071
Collection: Mindfulness Studies and Undergraduates
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to investigate whether the perception of experimental pain was different during a mindfulness manipulation than during a distraction manipulation. Furthermore, it was examined if effects were moderated by dispositional pain catastrophizing.METHODS: Undergraduate students (n = 51) completed self-report measures of pain catastrophizing and mindfulness. Subsequently, they were administered a series of mildly painful heat stimuli, which they had to rate. During pain induction, participants listened to either a pre-recorded mindfulness instruction (mindfulness group) or a pre-recorded story (distraction group). RESULTS: After controlling for baseline experimental pain ratings, we found no overall group effect, indicating that there was no difference in experienced pain between the mindfulness group and the distraction group. However, a significant moderation effect was found. When dispositional pain catastrophizing was high, pain was less pronounced in the mindfulness group than in the distraction group, whereas the opposite effect was found when the level of pain catastrophizing was low. CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that in persons with a high level of catastrophic thinking about pain, mindfulness-based coping may be a better approach than distraction.