Acceptance of the unpleasant reality of chronic pain: effects upon attention to pain and engagement with daily activities

Pain. 2004 Dec;112(3):282-288. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2004.09.008.


This paper investigates whether acceptance was related to less attention to pain, and to more engagement with daily activities. The results of two studies are reported. In a first cross-sectional study, 501 chronic pain patients completed self-report instruments on pain severity, attention to pain and acceptance. In a second diary study, 62 patients with chronic pain reported pain intensity, attention to pain and characteristics of goal-directed behaviour 8 times a day using an experience sampling method. Acceptance was measured using a self-report instrument. It was found that acceptance was related to less attention to pain (study 1 and study 2), more engagement with daily activities, a higher motivation to complete activities and a better efficacy to perform daily activities (study 2). Results are discussed in terms of how a positive life despite pain may be preserved by a flexible adjustment of personal goals to current limitations and adversities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Reality Testing
  • Regression Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires