Empirical methods are used to explore the relationship between chronic pain, somatic awareness and attention. Using a primary task paradigm, 46 chronic pain patients performed an attentionally demanding task. Patients were classified according to self reported pain intensity and the extent of their reporting of the perception of bodily sensations (somatic awareness). Results showed that, as predicted, disruption of attentional performance was most pronounced in those who reported high pain intensity and high somatic awareness. Further analysis revealed that these patients also reported high negative affect. These findings are discussed in terms of their theoretical implications for the concept of hypervigilance and their clinical implications for chronic pain control.