European Federation of Chapters of the International Association for the Study of Pain
European Journal of Pain vol:18 pages:1307-1315
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 prerecorded
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.