Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Marie-Christine Goodworth, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Mary Peterson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kristie Knows His Gun, Psy.D.


Chronic pain is one of the most common concerns people seek medical treatment for, yet it is historically difficult to treat. The current best evidence practice in chronic pain treatment is through a multidisciplinary team with psychologists implementing cognitive behavioral therapy or acceptance commitment therapy. These approaches are efficacious in decreasing pain-related behaviors and improving mood and quality of life. Resilience has also been shown to mitigate the impact of chronic pain. However, the sense of loss or grief related to the experience of chronic pain has been inadequately explored in the research literature and may be related to poor treatment outcomes and lower levels of resilience. This study aims to understand pain-related loss or grief and its relationship to resilience and pain interference in individuals with chronic pain. A two-sample unpaired t-test and correlations were utilized to analyze the data. Results indicate that individuals with chronic pain are experiencing grief to similar degrees as individuals following the loss of a loved one (t = .539; p = .589). There is a significant negative relationship between pain related grief and pain resilience (r(93)= -.48, p < .001). Additionally, the level of pain interference in a person’s life is more indicative of grief (r(93) = .552, p < .001) than it is to pain resiliency (r(93) = -.203, p < .05), suggesting that an individual may have greater pain interference yet have high levels of resiliency. Implications include that individuals with chronic pain experience grief related to loss that is comparable to bereaved individuals and this suggests that pain related grief should be included in conceptualization and treatment of people with chronic pain. Pain resiliency may be a protective factor for this grief that could be utilized to mitigate negative psychosocial stressors related to grief.