Psychological Flexibility May Reduce Insomnia in Persons with Chronic Pain: A Preliminary Retrospective Study

L M McCracken, J L Williams, N K Y Tang

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65 Citations (SciVal)


Objective. Sleep disturbance is a common complaint in people with chronic pain, and is associated with a range of adverse outcomes including reports of greater pain and disability. Research into insomnia with chronic pain sufferers has not yet examined the role of psychological flexibility, a process from acceptance and commitment therapy. We examined this role.

Design. Participants in this study were 159 adult patients attending an assessment at a specialist pain center. They were mostly women, 63%, and the mean age was 43.8 years.

Results. In preliminary analyses 79% of participants met the criteria for significant insomnia based on their self-reported symptoms. As predicted, significant positive correlations were found between components of psychological flexibility, particularly acceptance of pain and values-based action, and all measures of sleep quality. In regression analyses, the components of psychological flexibility considered together accounted for between 11% and 19% of variance across a range of measures of sleep quality.

Conclusion. These results suggest the need to further develop treatment services for people with chronic pain and insomnia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)904-912
Number of pages9
JournalPain Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • chronic pain
  • acceptance and commitment therapy
  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • sleep
  • insomnia


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