Being aware of the painful body : Validation of the German Body Awareness Questionnaire and Body Responsiveness Questionnaire in patients with chronic pain
Body awareness is an attentional focus on and awareness of internal body sensations. This study aimed to validate German versions of the Body Awareness Questionnaire (BAQ) and the Body Responsiveness Questionnaire (BRQ) in chronic pain patients and to assess their associations with pain-related variables and to assess their responsiveness to intervention. The instruments were translated to German and administered to 512 chronic pain patients (50.3±11.4 years, 91.6% female) to assess their factor structure and reliability. Cronbach’s α for the BAQ total score was 0.86. Factor analysis of the BRQ revealed the two factors Importance of Interoceptive Awareness (Cronbach’s α = 0.75) and Perceived Connection (Cronbach’s α = 0.75) and the single-item Suppression of Bodily Sensations. The BAQ was independently associated with lower mindfulness, self-esteem, stress, and depression; Importance of Interoceptive Awareness with mindfulness, self-acceptance, self-esteem, and physical contact; Perceived Connection with self-acceptance, vitality, and lower sensory pain; Suppression of Bodily Sensations with lower self-esteem, physical contact, and higher depressive symptoms. After a 10-week multimodal mind-body program (n = 202), the BAQ and Importance of Interoceptive Awareness increased and pain intensity and Suppression of Bodily Sensation decreased. In conclusion, body awareness and body responsiveness are associated with pain-related variables in patients with chronic pain. Mind-body interventions may positively influence both pain and body awareness, hinting at a potential mechanism of action of these interventions to be tested in further research.