Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Lindsey Cohen


Mindfulness has been touted as a potentially beneficial intervention for youth diagnosed with chronic pain. However, research to date has generally taken a downward translation approach, as opposed to an endogenous approach, to conceptualizing and applying mindfulness. The present study utilized grounded theory methodology to explore how adolescents diagnosed with chronic pain understand mindfulness and its application for chronic pain. Additionally, quantitative measures of participants’ executive function were collected to further elucidate the cognitive developmental considerations underlying mindfulness. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 7 adolescents (age 12-17). Findings revealed a theory of mindfulness composed of awareness of internal and external factors, objectivity, and nonreactivity to determine action. Application of mindfulness for chronic pain was divided into two categories – alleviation or prevention of exacerbation of pain, and confusion and contradiction. Participants with well-developed executive functioning discussed mindfulness in more abstract terms. These findings will guide future studies of mindfulness in youth.