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Previous studies have shown that brief mindfulness trainings can have significant analgesic effects. However, the effects of the various components of mindfulness on pain analgesia are not well understood. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of two components of mindfulness interventions—attention and acceptance—on pain analgesia.
One hundred and nineteen healthy college students without prior mindfulness experience underwent a cold-pressor test to measure pain tolerance before and after the training. Pain intensity, tolerance, distress, threshold, and endurance time were also tested. The participants were randomly assigned to one of the following four conditions: (1) acceptance of pain, (2) attention to pain, (3) acceptance of and attention to pain, or (4) control.
The results showed that both the acceptance strategy and the combined acceptance and attention group increased pain endurance and tolerance after training. Furthermore, the acceptance group had longer pain endurance and tolerance times than the attention and control groups.
These results suggest that acceptance of pain is more important than attention to pain. Study limitations and future research directions are discussed.
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- Effect of Acceptance Versus Attention on Pain Tolerance: Dissecting Two Components of Mindfulness
Stefan G. Hofmann
- Springer US