Effect of Brief Mindfulness Intervention on Tolerance and Distress of Pain Induced by Cold-Pressor Task


Correspondence: Xinghua Liu, Department of Psychology, Capital Normal University, West Third Ring North Road105,Haidian District, Beijing 100048, China.

Email: xinghua_liu@126.com


A number of studies have demonstrated that short-term meditation intervention can lead to greater tolerance and lower pain or distress ratings of experimentally induced pain. However, few attempts have been made to examine the effects of short-term mindfulness-based intervention on the tolerance and distress of pain, when delivered in a therapist-free form. The present research explored the effect of brief mindfulness intervention using pre-recorded instruction on pain experimentally induced by the cold-pressor task. The effects of the mindfulness strategy, the distraction strategy and spontaneous strategy, all through the instructions of pre-recorded voices, were compared. The subjects were drawn from healthy college students and randomly assigned to the aforementioned three groups. Our results showed that compared with using spontaneous strategies, the mindfulness intervention significantly improved the participants' pain tolerance and reduced their immersion distress. The distraction strategy also significantly improved the participants' pain tolerance. However, it did not have a significant effect on the participants' level of distress during the immersion period. Our results suggest that brief mindfulness intervention without a therapist's personal involvement is capable of helping people cope with pain induced by the cold-pressor task. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.