Acceptance of pain, self-compassion and psychopathology: using the chronic pain acceptance questionnaire to identify patients' subgroups

Clin Psychol Psychother. 2011 Jul-Aug;18(4):292-302. doi: 10.1002/cpp.718. Epub 2010 Aug 30.


The present study explores whether specific subgroups of patients could be identified based on Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire scores. A battery of self-report questionnaire was used to assess acceptance of pain, self-compassion and psychopathology in 103 participants with chronic pain, from Portuguese health care units. K-Means cluster were performed and the results supported three subgroups of patients (low acceptance subgroup; high acceptance subgroup; intermediate subgroup with activity engagement near to the mean and low willingness to pain). One-way ANOVA's showed that the three subgroups identified differed significantly from each other on psychopathology and self-compassion. Results indicated that the intermediate subgroup presented less depression and stress, compared with the low acceptance subgroup. In what concerns self-compassion, the low acceptance subgroup reported higher self-judgment, isolation and over identification, compared with the intermediate subgroup. These subgroups also differed from each other in common humanity and mindfulness. Implications and clinical utility of the results were discussed, suggesting the increase of willingness to pain as an important key in chronic pain interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Awareness
  • Chronic Pain / epidemiology
  • Chronic Pain / psychology*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Portugal / epidemiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Concept*
  • Self Report
  • Social Isolation / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*