Mindfulness is associated with psychological health and moderates the impact of fibromyalgia

Clin Rheumatol. 2019 Jun;38(6):1737-1745. doi: 10.1007/s10067-019-04436-1. Epub 2019 Jan 14.


Objective: Previous studies suggest mindfulness is associated with pain and depression. However, its impact in individuals with fibromyalgia remains unclear. We examined associations between mindfulness and physical and psychological symptoms, pain interference, and quality of life in fibromyalgia patients.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional analysis on baseline data from a fibromyalgia clinical trial. Mindfulness was assessed using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ). Pearson's correlations and multivariable linear regression models were used to evaluate associations between mindfulness and fibromyalgia impact, pain interference, physical function, depression, anxiety, stress, self-efficacy, and health-related quality of life. We also examined whether mindfulness moderated associations between fibromyalgia impact and psychological outcomes.

Results: A total of 177 participants (age 52.0 ± 12.2 (SD) years; 93.2% women; 58.8% white; body mass index 30.1 ± 6.7 kg/m2; FFMQ score 131.3 ± 20.7; Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire score 57.0 ± 19.4) were included. Higher total mindfulness was significantly associated with lower fibromyalgia impact (r = - 0.25), pain interference (r = - 0.31), stress (r = - 0.56), anxiety (r = - 0.58), depression (r = - 0.54), and better mental health-related quality of life (r = 0.57). Describing, Acting-with-awareness, and Non-judging facets of mindfulness were also associated with these outcomes. Mindfulness moderated the effect of fibromyalgia impact on anxiety (interaction P = 0.01).

Conclusion: Higher mindfulness is associated with less pain interference, lower impact of fibromyalgia, and better psychological health and quality of life in people with fibromyalgia. Mindfulness moderates the influence of fibromyalgia impact on anxiety, suggesting mindfulness may alter how patients cope with fibromyalgia. Future studies should assess how mind-body therapies aiming to cultivate mindfulness may impact the well-being of patients with fibromyalgia.

Key points: • Higher mindfulness was associated with better psychological health and lower overall impact of fibromyalgia. • Mindfulness moderated the relationship between overall fibromyalgia impact and anxiety.

Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; Fibromyalgia; Mindfulness; Pain; Quality of life; Stress.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / physiopathology
  • Fibromyalgia / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Self Efficacy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tai Ji