Mindful attention and experimental pain among adolesents

Petter, M., et al. (2014). The Effects of Mindful Attention and State Mindfulness on Acute Experimental Pain among Adolescents. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, jsu007. Abstract

Objective: Attention-based coping strategies for pain are widely used in pediatric populations. The purpose of this study was to test a novel mindful attention manipulation on adolescent’s experimental pain responses. Furthermore, the relationship between state mindfulness and experimental pain was examined.

Methods: A total of 198 adolescents were randomly assigned to a mindful attention manipulation or control group prior to an experimental pain task. Participants completed measures of state mindfulness immediately prior to the pain task, and situational catastrophizing  and pain intensity following the task.

Results: Overall the manipulation had no effect on pain. Secondary analysis showed that meditation experience moderated the effect of the manipulation. State mindfulness predicted pain outcomes, with reductions in situational catastrophizing mediating this relationship.

Conclusions: The mindful attention manipulation was effective among adolescents with a regular meditation practice. State mindfulness was related to ameliorated pain responses, and these effects were mediated by reduced catastrophizing.