The role of positive goal engagement in increased mental well-being among individuals with chronic non-cancer pain
British Journal of Pain
School of Arts and Humanities
Individuals with chronic pain commonly report significant functional impairment and reduced quality of life. Despite this, little is known about psychological processes and mechanisms underpinning enhancements in well-being within this population. The study aimed to investigate whether (1) increased levels of pain intensity and interference were associated with lower levels of mental well-being, (2) increased positive goal engagement was associated with higher levels of mental well-being and (3) whether the relationships between pain characteristics and mental well-being were mediated by increased positive goal engagement. A total of 586 individuals with chronic pain participated in the cross-sectional, online study. Participants completed self-report measures to assess pain intensity and interference, mental well-being and goal motivation variables. Results showed that pain interference and positive goal engagement were associated with mental well-being. Moreover, the relationship between pain interference and mental well-being was partially mediated by positive goal engagement. The results provide tentative evidence for the protective role of positive goal engagement in enabling individuals with chronic pain to maintain a sense of mental well-being. The study develops the biopsychosocial model of chronic pain by examining the roles and relationships of relevant yet previously unexplored psychological constructs. The promotion of mental well-being through the enhancement of positive goal engagement is discussed, offering a platform for further research and clinical interventions.