Adjustment disorders (AjD) are common in clinical practice, but research on treatment alternatives is scarce, as it is on the impact of common comorbid symptoms such as pain. The present study explored the effect of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) on a sample of AjD outpatients and analyzed the role of pain in treatment response.
Quantitative data were obtained from 278 individuals diagnosed with AjD who participated in an MBCT program. The sample was divided into two subgroups: “pain” vs. “no pain.” Depressive symptomatology was the main outcome. Paired t-tests were used to analyze the effect of the intervention. A repeated measures ANOVA was performed to compare the impact between the two subgroups. The predictive role of pain, among other variables, on treatment response was analyzed through linear regression.
A significant decrease in depressive symptomatology was observed posttreatment (t = 9.27, p < .001; Cohen’s d = 0.44). Although both subgroups improved after MBCT, the “pain” subgroup presented a significantly smaller change (F = 5.85, p = .016). Pain was a significant predictor of treatment response (B = − 3.15, t = − 2.89, p = .004).
Our results support the effectiveness of MBCT for treating adult outpatients with AjD. The presence of comorbid pain seems to minimize treatment response, which could in turn hinder recovery.