Objective: Dispositional mindfulness is the general tendency to pay attention to present-moment awareness without judgment. The main aim of this cross-sectional study was to determine (a) whether dispositional mindfulness is associated with psychological distress in adolescents with chronic pain and low-level pain, and (b) whether it accounts for unique variance in distress after controlling for key variables from the pain literature. A secondary aim was to explore the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and functioning.
Method: 54 adolescents seeking help for chronic pain and 94 "healthy" adolescents with recent low-level pain from the general population completed the same battery of measures, including the Child and Adolescent Mindfulness Measure of dispositional mindfulness.
Results: As predicted, dispositional mindfulness was associated with mood and anxiety in both groups and also accounted for unique variance in mood and anxiety in standard regression models after controlling for group, age, pain-intensity, pain-catastrophizing, and pain-acceptance. Dispositional mindfulness did not differ significantly across the two groups and did not predict physical functioning. However, it did account for unique variance in social functioning.
Conclusions: Dispositional mindfulness may be an important construct to consider in the context of adolescents experiencing mood and anxiety problems in both low-level and chronic pain samples. Further research should aim to replicate these findings in larger clinical samples and explore the predictive power of dispositional mindfulness using longitudinal designs.