The Psychological Record

, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 447–455 | Cite as

The Effects of Acceptance of Thoughts, Mindful Awareness of Breathing, and Spontaneous Coping on an Experimentally Induced Pain Task

  • Loch Forsyth
  • Louise L. Hayes


The current study examined the effects of acceptance of thoughts, mindful awareness of breathing, and spontaneous coping on both pain tolerance and pain threshold during a cold pressor task. Eligible participants (N = 58), 16 males and 42 females (M age = 29.31, SD = 11.21), were randomized into three groups and completed two cold pressor trials. The first cold pressor trial formed a baseline for all three groups. The acceptance of thoughts and mindfulness of breathing groups listened to recorded instructions and then completed a second administration of the cold pressor task. The spontaneous coping group completed the cold pressor task twice with instructions to select their own coping style. Multilevel linear modeling showed significant group differences in pain tolerance. The acceptance of thoughts and mindfulness of breathing conditions resulted in significantly higher pain tolerance in post hoc analysis than spontaneous coping. Results were interpreted to be consistent with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Further examination of the effects of ACT processes on experimentally induced pain tolerance is needed.


Acceptance Mindfulness Cold pressor Pain 


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Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social Sciences and PsychologyUniversity of Western SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Orygen Youth Health Research Centre and Centre for Youth Mental HealthThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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