Mindfulness-Based Training for Women Veterans With Chronic Pain: A Retrospective Study

Heather A. Okvat, Mary C. Davis, Erin G. Mistretta, Aram S. Mardian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The majority of women veterans experience chronic pain and many have comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To enhance resilience in these veterans in terms of both physical functioning and psychosocial well-being, a mindfulness-based, trauma-informed, eight-session group pilot program was designed to target emotion regulation and social belonging. Women who engaged in treatment were asked to complete questionnaires assessing pain, functioning, and affective and social well-being before and after the program. The present retrospective research study evaluated (a) whether women who engaged in treatment showed pre-to-post treatment improvement in psychosocial and physical functioning and (b) whether women referred to the program who engaged versus did not engage in treatment differed in demographic and clinical data (i.e., pain diagnoses, mental health diagnoses, documented trauma history) obtained from medical record review. The sample consisted of 36 women who began the program and filled out a pregroup questionnaire (intent-to-treat sample; ITT) and 105 women who were referred but did not engage in treatment. The majority had a documented history of trauma, a mood disorder, and a PTSD diagnosis. ITT analyses indicated that veterans showed moderate-to-large pre–post improvements in pain severity, pain catastrophizing, physical functioning, depression, self-compassion, and positive affect. Veterans who engaged in treatment were similar to those who did not in demographics, number of pain diagnoses, and mental health diagnoses, but were more likely to have a documented history of trauma. Despite the limitations of this study, the findings are encouraging and point to the value of a future randomized controlled trial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-119
Number of pages14
JournalPsychological Services
StatePublished - Nov 22 2021


  • Chronic pain
  • Mindfulness
  • Trauma
  • Veterans
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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