Pain is a biopsychosocial phenomenon, which draws from physiological responses as well as cultural and social context and mental states. Pain is most frequently treated through surgical and pharmacological interventions, which can be costly and time-consuming, especially when treating chronic pain. Older adults suffer from chronic pain at a higher rate than the rest of the population, and more accessible interventions are desperately needed to help manage the experience of chronic pain. Mindfulness meditation is increasingly being utilized for management of pain due to evidence of its effectiveness, cheaper cost, and ability to be practiced outside of medical facilities. Prior research studies looked at the effectiveness of using mindfulness meditation to manage chronic pain, but a limited number have focused on older adults. This systematic review was conducted to examine the benefits of mindful meditation in managing chronic pain in older adults. Eight studies were included and narrative synthesis was used to demonstrate that while mindful meditation does not appear to reduce pain intensity, it may help manage chronic pain in older adults by changing the relationship to pain, which in turn may reduce functional impairment and negative emotions, and improve quality of life. Clinical applications are discussed.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Mindfulness (Psychology); Chronic pain—Older people; Meditation

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Natasha Thapar-Olmos

Included in

Psychology Commons