A Mindfulness Program Adapted for Adolescents With Chronic Pain: Feasibility, Acceptability, and Initial Outcomes

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Abstract

Objectives:

Pediatric chronic pain is a major health issue that can lead to significant interference in daily functioning. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBI’s), which emphasize acceptance rather than control of pain, have gained increasing attention as a viable treatment option among adults with chronic pain. The effectiveness of MBIs for chronic pain in pediatric populations remains largely unknown. This prospective pre-post interventional study was conducted to examine the feasibility, acceptability, and initial effectiveness of an 8-week group MBI adapted for adolescents (MBI-A) with chronic pain.

Materials and Methods:

Self-report measures assessing pain characteristics, anxiety, depression, disability, pain catastrophizing, perceived social support, mindfulness, and pain acceptance were administered at baseline, postintervention, and at a 3-month follow-up. In addition, session data were collected to assess each session’s impact on patients’ coping with pain and stress, body awareness, and sense of feeling less alone.

Results:

In total, 42 consecutive patients in a tertiary care chronic pain clinic met eligibility criteria to participate in the MBI-A group. Of these, 21 participated. A treatment completion rate of 90.5% was observed. Between session mindfulness practice was reported by 77% of participants. Participants were highly satisfied with the MBI-A and all participants reported they would recommend the group to a friend. Improvements in pain acceptance were observed between baseline and the 3-month follow-up, in domains of Pain Willingness and Activity Engagement. Session data revealed improved body awareness and improved ability to cope with stress across sessions.

Discussion:

The MBI-A is a feasible, well-received intervention for adolescents with chronic pain conditions. Findings support the need for further investigation of the efficacy of MBI-A through randomized-controlled trials.

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