, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 209–217 | Cite as

The Influence of Mindfulness on Different Aspects of Pain Perception and Affective Reactivity to Pain - Feasibility of a Multimethodical Approach

  • Katja LangeEmail author
  • Anna Gorbunova
  • Oliver Christ


Theoretical models define the mechanism of change underlying mindfulness as an uncoupling of unpleasant stimuli (e.g., thoughts, feelings, and body sensations) and subsequent reactions which can be described as decentering, deautomatization, or detachment from contents of consciousness. Mindfulness has strong implications in the prevention and treatment of chronic pain considering current psychological models which highlight the role of dysfunctional reactions to pain or related stimuli like anxiety, catastrophizing, or avoidance. Existing studies cover only some of these aspects. The aim of this study was to explore the feasibility of a multimodal assessment approach to examine the influence of trait mindfulness on the affective reactivity to pain and components of pain perception. Thereby, we covered cognitive, affective, physiological, motivational, and behavioral components as indicators of pain reactivity. Twenty-four healthy students participated in this laboratory study examining the reactions to experimentally induced pain. Results indicate that the multimodal method realized seems to be a promising approach to allow for differentiated conclusions about relations between mindfulness and different process and outcome variables in the treatment of pain. Improvements of the methodical approach and future research directions based on the findings are discussed.


Mindfulness Mechanisms of action Pain perception Affective reactivity Feasibility study Multimodal pain assessment 



The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. We gratefully thank Christian Rehm for supporting this study by coding the software program for simultaneously starting startle probes and EMG recording. We also would like to thank the reviewers for their helpful commentaries and recommendations on an earlier version of the manuscript. This study was presented as poster at the third conference of the Research Network on Mindfulness (Forschungsnetzwerk Achtsamkeit) in Bern, Switzerland (9th–10th June 2011).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTechnische Universität DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany

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