To be aware, or to accept, that is the question: Differential roles of awareness of automaticity and pain acceptance in opioid misuse

Anna Parisi, Aleksandra E. Zgierska, Cindy A. Burzinski, Robert P. Lennon, Robert N. Jamison, Yoshio Nakamura, Bruce Barrett, Robert R. Edwards, Eric L. Garland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Individuals with chronic low back pain (CLBP) are commonly prescribed long-term opioid therapy (LTOT) for analgesia, placing this population at increased risk for opioid misuse and opioid use disorder. Acceptance of aversive experiences (e.g., chronic pain) and awareness of automatic thoughts and behaviors (i.e., automaticity) are two facets of dispositional mindfulness that may serve as protective mechanisms against opioid misuse risk. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to examine the differential contributions of these constructs to opioid misuse risk among adults with CLBP receiving LTOT. Methods: Data were obtained from a sample of 770 adults with opioid-treated CLBP. Bivariate correlations and hierarchical linear regression analyses were used to determine whether chronic pain acceptance and awareness of automatic thoughts and behaviors explained a statistically significant portion of variance in opioid misuse risk after accounting for the effects of other relevant confounders. Results: Hierarchical regression results revealed that chronic pain acceptance and awareness of automatic thoughts and behaviors contributed a significant portion in the variance of opioid misuse risk. Awareness of automatic thoughts and behaviors was negatively associated with opioid misuse risk, such that individuals with lower levels of awareness of automaticity were at higher risk of opioid misuse. By contrast, pain acceptance was not associated with opioid misuse. Conclusions: Findings suggest that awareness of automaticity may buffer against opioid misuse risk. Interventions designed to strengthen awareness of automaticity (e.g., mindfulness-based interventions) might be especially efficacious among this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109890
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Volume247
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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