Posttraumatic growth and acceptance: two different pathways to cope with chronic pain?

  • R. Ayache
  • C. Perret
  • H. Chabrol
  • N. Goutaudier


Background: A growing body of evidence suggest that mindfulness process could facilitate posttraumatic growth (PTG). This sort of meaning making is still understudied in the context of chronic pain. The aim of this cross-sectional study was a) to identify relevant factors of mindfulness processes related to pain b) to explore the association between these factors and PTG. Method: A sample of 913 participants completed online questionnaires assessing pain perception (7 components), depressive, anxiety and posttraumatic stress symptoms, dispositional mindfulness (5components), inflexibility and pain acceptance (4 components) and level of pain-related PTG. Socio-demographic data were also gathered. Findings: Using multiple regression analysis, the impact of the five confounded factors (i.e, PTSD, anxiety and depressive symptoms) was removed from the PTG score. An exploratory factor analysis on the potential PTG predictors (i.e, pain perception, dispositional mindfulness, inflexibility and pain acceptance) was conducted. A five-factor model was obtained with one pain factor; 2 mindfulness factors and 2 factors related to types of flexibility and acceptance. Except from the pain factor, all other factors explained a significant part of the variance of the PTG score. Conclusions: PTG and mindful acceptance of pain appears as two different meanings made through chronic pain. While they seem to depend on their own mechanisms, they could share some overarching meaning making processes. There is a need to explore the shattering effect of chronic pain that might lead to posttraumatic reactions. Future research is warranted to assist chronic pain patients in finding their own way to recover from pain.
Poster presentations