Mindfulness involves reducing potential influences from aversive cognitions, sensations, and emotions on behavior. Mindfulness may influence the experience of pain-related anxiety, and thereby enhance other aspects of physical and psychosocial functioning. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate a potential mediating role of pain-related anxiety between mindfulness and physical and psychosocial functioning in chronic pain patients. This cross-sectional/correlational study used archival data (N = 226) obtained from the larger Korean Pain Study at a university-based pain-management center in Korea. Based on the inclusion criterion for the present study, archival data were analyzed for a final sample of 179 patients with chronic pain. Structural equation analyses showed that both the partial- and full-mediation models had adequate goodness-of-fit indices for physical and psychosocial functioning. Subsequent chi-square tests, however, indicated that the more parsimonious full-mediation model was preferred to the partial-mediation model for physical and psychosocial functioning. Bootstrapping procedures yielded significant mediation effects of pain-related anxiety in the full-mediation models on physical and psychosocial functioning. These findings suggest that being mindful may lead indirectly to a decrease in the disabling influences of pain-related anxiety, thereby contributing to better physical and psychosocial functioning, rather than playing a direct contributing role for better functioning among chronic pain patients in Korea.
Perspective: This article examines the mediating role of pain-related anxiety between mindfulness and physical/psychosocial functioning. Results suggest that mindfulness methods may benefit patients having pain-related anxiety and consequent disability. These benefits may derive from the way processes of mindfulness interact with processes of avoidance and with cognitive influences on emotional suffering.
- chronic pain
- health functioning
- pain-related anxiety