Mindfulness is associated with psychological health and moderates the impact of fibromyalgia

  • Brandon Pleman
  • Michelle Park
  • Xingyi Han
  • Lori Lyn Price
  • Raveendhara R. Bannuru
  • William F. Harvey
  • Jeffrey B. Driban
  • Chenchen WangEmail author
Original Article



Previous studies suggest mindfulness is associated with pain and depression. However, its impact in individuals with fibromyalgia remains unclear. We examined associations between mindfulness and physical and psychological symptoms, pain interference, and quality of life in fibromyalgia patients.


We performed a cross-sectional analysis on baseline data from a fibromyalgia clinical trial. Mindfulness was assessed using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ). Pearson’s correlations and multivariable linear regression models were used to evaluate associations between mindfulness and fibromyalgia impact, pain interference, physical function, depression, anxiety, stress, self-efficacy, and health-related quality of life. We also examined whether mindfulness moderated associations between fibromyalgia impact and psychological outcomes.


A total of 177 participants (age 52.0 ± 12.2 (SD) years; 93.2% women; 58.8% white; body mass index 30.1 ± 6.7 kg/m2; FFMQ score 131.3 ± 20.7; Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire score 57.0 ± 19.4) were included. Higher total mindfulness was significantly associated with lower fibromyalgia impact (r = − 0.25), pain interference (r = − 0.31), stress (r = − 0.56), anxiety (r = − 0.58), depression (r = − 0.54), and better mental health-related quality of life (r = 0.57). Describing, Acting-with-awareness, and Non-judging facets of mindfulness were also associated with these outcomes. Mindfulness moderated the effect of fibromyalgia impact on anxiety (interaction P = 0.01).


Higher mindfulness is associated with less pain interference, lower impact of fibromyalgia, and better psychological health and quality of life in people with fibromyalgia. Mindfulness moderates the influence of fibromyalgia impact on anxiety, suggesting mindfulness may alter how patients cope with fibromyalgia. Future studies should assess how mind-body therapies aiming to cultivate mindfulness may impact the well-being of patients with fibromyalgia.

Key points

• Higher mindfulness was associated with better psychological health and lower overall impact of fibromyalgia.

• Mindfulness moderated the relationship between overall fibromyalgia impact and anxiety.


Anxiety Depression Fibromyalgia Mindfulness Pain Quality of life Stress 


Author contributions

All authors were involved in drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content, and all authors approved the final version to be published. Chenchen Wang had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data.


This work was supported by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health of the National Institutes of Health (NCCIH) [R01AT006367, K24AT007323, K23AT009374]; the National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health [UL1RR025752]; and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health [UL1TR000073, UL1TR001064]. The contents of this manuscript are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NCCIH. The investigators are solely responsible for the content of the manuscript and the decision to submit for publication.

Compliance with ethical standards




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Copyright information

© International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine & Division of Rheumatology, Tufts Medical CenterTufts University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  2. 2.The Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy StudiesTufts Medical CenterBostonUSA
  3. 3.Tufts Clinical and Translational Science InstituteTufts UniversityBostonUSA
  4. 4.Center for Treatment Comparison and Integrative AnalysisTufts Medical CenterBostonUSA

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