Last updated on November 2018

Self-Compassion and Acute Pain


Brief description of study

Research on self-compassion suggests its impact in the context of pain. In the current study, the investigators evaluate a short self-compassion intervention for coping with acute pain.

Detailed Study Description

Self-compassion comprises three components: self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness. Empirical evidence shows the relevance of self-compassion in the context of negative emotions such as depression, anxiety and anger. Research on chronic pain is promising yet limited. Self-compassion is associated with better pain-coping, pain-acceptance and quality of life, as well as reduced pain-related disability and burdening emotions. Experimental investigations on induced pain are missing. The aim of the current study is to evaluate a short self-compassion intervention for pain.

First, a heat stimulus is induced to all participants which is to be tolerated as long as possible and evaluated in intensity and unpleasantness. Next, participants receive a coping-strategy which they are randomly assigned to. Three different strategies are evaluated: (1) self-compassion, treating oneself with kindness while being mindfully aware of the painful stimulus, (2) acceptance, accepting the painful stimulus as well as pain-related thoughts, not trying to change, (3) distraction, distracting oneself from the painful stimulus and trying not to perceive the pain or painful thoughts. Participants practice the strategy with the painful heat stimulus three times. Then, they receive another heat stimulus which is to be tolerated as long as possible and evaluated. During the next week, participants obtain daily practices via e-mail for further fostering of the learned strategy. Finally, participants receive, tolerate and evaluate pain again in the laboratory.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03647683

Contact Investigators or Research Sites near you

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Anja C Schmitt, M.Sc.

Philipps-University of Marburg
Marburg, Germany
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Recruitment Status: Open


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