Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Beyond coping: Transformation in the face of living with nonmalignant chronic pain
by Ammondson, Ingrid, Ph.D., Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 2009, 287; 3355936
Abstract (Summary)

This exploratory mixed-method study investigated the process of transformation in individuals living with nonmalignant chronic pain. The research questions examined profound change (transformation) in participants’ sense of self, worldview, and spirituality, and how such transformation affected their lives. Thirty-eight participants who identified experiencing a positive transformation while living with nonmalignant chronic pain completed the following measures: (a) Adult Self-Transcendence Inventory (ASTI), (b) Religious Experience Scale (RES), (c) Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire (CPAQ), (d) Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI-18), (e) Overall Life Satisfaction Scale (OLS), and (f) Subjective Pain Rating Scale. Bivariate correlations were performed assessing relationships among measures. The ASTI was correlated to the CPAQ subscales of pain engagement (r = .64) and pain willingness (r = .34), to the OLS (r = .69) and negatively correlated to overall psychological distress (r = -.42), to depression (r = -.55), and to anxiety (r = -.40), suggesting a relationship between self-transcendence and successful adaptation to chronic pain. The top 13 scoring participants on both the ASTI and the RES were selected for semistructured interviews analyzed using the narrative method. The narrative analysis demonstrated the following: (a) participants found that much of the suffering from the pain experience is a pain signal amplified by affects of distress, fear, anger, shame, and attendant cognition—experience based in the past; (b) acceptance of chronic pain fostered profound transformation affecting all aspects of life; (c) the common underlying structure of the transformation was based in evolving ways of relating to the affective system with interest—the present moment; and (d) acceptance and self-transcendence may be facilitated through various interventions. These exploratory findings suggest that some people go beyond successful adaptation to nonmalignant chronic pain to increased states of wholeness and well-being.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wall, Kathleen
Commitee: Astin, John A., Levenson, Michael R.
School: Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
Department: Residential Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 70/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Developmental psychology
Keywords: Awareness, Chronic pain, Mindfulness meditation, Self-transcendence, Spiritual development, Transformation
Publication Number: 3355936
ISBN: 978-1-109-15540-2
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