Faculty Mentor

Jonathan Mattanah


This study examined the relationship between pain perception and meditation among older adults and college students diagnosed with a chronic pain condition. Chronic pain was defined as having pain most days of the week for at least three months. 13 participants were older adults recruited from a local senior center and 18 participants were college students recruited from a local university. Participants attended one intervention that measured the immediate effects of a meditation or education training on perceptual aspects of pain. Pain intensity, sensation and emotional response were measured with the McGill pain questionnaire short-form. Catastrophic thoughts about pain were measured by the pain catastrophizing scale. The depression, anxiety and stress scale was also utilized in this study to measure overall distress. Results showed a marginally significant trend towards meditation decreasing the intensity of pain in older adults. Results also revealed greater reductions in all measures of pain in both older adults and college students who underwent meditation training versus an education group, yet these results did not reach statistical significance. College students showed somewhat greater improvement in comparison to older adults in both control and experimental groups, though not significantly so. This study was limited in its effectiveness because of a small sample size and an unclear sample of individuals with chronic pain conditions. Although the study only yielded significant decreases distress levels in college students, it highlights the overall potential benefits of a meditation intervention as a plausible and effective treatment for chronic pain as well as co-morbid conditions associated with pain.

Cover Page Note

I would like to acknowledge and extend a great thank you to Dr. Mattanah for helping me develop this project and his continued support throughout this process, family and friends for their ongoing support and encouragement and individuals who approached this treatment with an open mind and willingness to explore complementary and alternative therapies.