Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
The current study utilized an early-stage translational approach (Tashiro & Mortensen, 2006) to empirically test the immediate effect of a 15-minute mindfulness intervention on acute pain experience. The study employed a three-group, repeated measures experimental design with two active control conditions (sham mindfulness and attention control) and an analogue pain induction procedure (cold-pressor test). The sample consisted of 165 university students. Repeated measures analyses found an interaction effect between condition and time for subjective pain intensity and an interaction effect between gender and time for pain tolerance. Trends show that attention control increased pain intensity, whereas mindfulness decreased pain intensity. Females exhibited greater pain tolerance at post-intervention across conditions. Analyses yielded no significant differences between conditions among dependent variables of pain tolerance, state affect, or state anxiety. A moderate relationship was found between fear of pain and pain tolerance at pre-intervention, but failed to significantly moderate outcome in main analyses. Post-hoc analyses revealed a subset of "high pain tolerant" participants, who endorsed significantly higher trait mindfulness, lower fear of pain, and lower pain catastrophizing compared to the remainder of participants. Negative affect was related to increased pain intensity within the attention control condition. Suggestions for future research and clinical implications of research in this area are discussed.
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