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



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.

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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.

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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.

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Correspondence to Chenchen Wang.

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Pleman, B., Park, M., Han, X. et al. Mindfulness is associated with psychological health and moderates the impact of fibromyalgia. Clin Rheumatol 38, 1737–1745 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10067-019-04436-1

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  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Mindfulness
  • Pain
  • Quality of life
  • Stress