Objectives: Catastrophizing is often the primary target of the cognitive-behavioral treatment of chronic pain. Recent literature on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) suggests an important role in the pain experience for the concepts mindfulness and acceptance. The aim of this study is to examine the influence of mindfulness and general psychological acceptance on pain-related catastrophizing in patients with chronic pain. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted, including 87 chronic pain patients from an academic outpatient pain center. Results: The results show that general psychological acceptance (measured with the AAQ-II) is a strong predictor of pain-related catastrophizing, independent of gender, age and pain intensity. Mindfulness (measured with the MAAS) did not predict levels of pain-related catastrophizing. Discussion: Acceptance of psychological experiences outside of pain itself is related to catastrophizing. Thus, acceptance seems to play a role in the pain experience and should be part of the treatment of chronic pain. The focus of the ACT treatment of chronic pain does not necessarily have to be on acceptance of pain per se, but may be aimed at acceptance of unwanted experiences in general. Mindfulness in the sense of "acting with awareness" is however not related to catastrophizing. Based on our research findings in comparisons with those of other authors, we recommend a broader conceptualization of mindfulness and the use of a multifaceted questionnaire for mindfulness instead of the unidimensional MAAS. © 2014 de Boer et al.
De Boer, M. J., Steinhagen, H. E., Versteegen, G. J., Struys, M. M. R. F., & Sanderman, R. (2014). Mindfulness, acceptance and catastrophizing in chronic pain. PLoS ONE, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0087445