School of Psychology - Directory - People - Dr Melissa Day

Dr Melissa Day
  – NHMRC Early Career Fellow

Picture of 'Dr Melissa Day'
Dr Melissa Day
I am a clinical psychologist with expertise in pain. I have two current primary lines of research focus: 1) advancing our understanding of the experience of pain using basic and applied research methodology; and 2) implementing randomised controlled trials to evaluate the efficacy and mechanisms of psychosocial treatments for chronic pain. I joined the School in January 2015 to commence an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship which entails conducting a randomized controlled trial comparing treatments for chronic low back pain. If you suffer from chronic low back pain and would be interested in participating in this trial, please call/email me at the contact information provided.
+61 7 3365 6421
+61 7 3365 4466
Postal Address:
330 McElwain Building
School of Psychology | Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
The University of Queensland | St Lucia Campus
Brisbane, QLD 4072 | Australia

Picture of 'Dr Melissa Day'
Dr Melissa Day

BS, MA(Clin), PhD, MAPS


I completed my PhD training in Clinical Psychology within the Health Psychology track at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, U.S.A. while working with Professor Beverly Thorn. I then completed my Clinical Psychology residency with a Behavioural Medicine and Neuropsychology focus at the University of Washington, School of Medicine, Seattle, U.S.A. I then undertook a post-doctoral research fellowship with Professor Mark Jensen and Professor Dawn Ehde that provided further specialty training in Pain Psychology, and was also completed at the University of Washington, within the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. I am now an endorsed Clinical Psychologist in Australia and am the Director of Pain Research at the Brisbane Pain and Rehabilitation Service. Most recently, I was awarded an Early Career Fellowship grant by the Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) that commenced in January 2015, which I am completing within the School of Psychology here at The University of Queensland.

Picture of 'Dr Melissa Day'
Dr Melissa Day
Research Activities:

My program of research is primarily focused on implementing randomised controlled trials designed to evaluate the efficacy and mechanisms of cognitive-behavioural and mindfulness-based interventions for heterogeneous chronic pain conditions. My concurrent line of research aims to further our understanding of the experience of chronic pain, as well as advance our capacity to accurately assess its multidimensional nature.

I have a history of successful grant funding with my collaborators located within the U.S.A., Professors Beverly Thorn, Mark Jensen, and Dawn Ehde, and we have a number of completed and ongoing projects. Additionally, I was awarded an NHMRC ECF grant which I am currently in the process of starting up.

Representative Publications:

Manuscripts in Refereed Journals:

  1. Day, M.A., Ward, L.C., Thorn, B.E., Lang, C.P., Newton-John, T.R.O., Ehde, D.M., & Jensen, M.P. (In Press). The pain-related cognitive process questionnaire (PCPQ): Development and validation. Pain Medicine. (ERA: B; Impact Factor: 2.339)
  2. Elvery, N., Jensen, M.P., Ehde, D.M., Day, M.A. (2017). Pain catastrophizing, mindfulness, and pain acceptance: What’s the difference? The Clinical Journal of Pain, 33(6), 485-495. (ERA: A; Impact Factor: 2.703)
  3. Jensen, M.P., Ward, L.C., Thorn, B.E., Ehde, D.M., & Day, M.A. (2017). Measuring the cognitions, emotions, and motivation associated with avoidance behaviors in the context of pain: Development of the negative responsivity to pain scales. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 33(4), 325-334. (ERA: A; Impact Factor: 2.703)
  4. Day, M.A., Lang, C., Newton-John, T.R.O., Ehde, D.M., & Jensen, M.P. (2017). A content review of cognitive process measures used in pain research with adult populations. European Journal of Pain, 21, 45-60. (ERA: B; Impact Factor: 2.9).
  5. Jensen, M.P., Ehde, D.M., & Day, M.A. (2016). The behavioral activation and inhibition systems: Implications for understanding and treating chronic pain. Journal of Pain, 17(5), 529.e1-529.e18. (ERA: A; Impact Factor: 4.463).
  6. Day, M.A., Halpin, J., & Thorn, B.E. (2016). An empirical examination of the role of common factors of therapy during a mindfulness-based cognitive therapy intervention for headache pain. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 32(5), 420-427. (ERA: A; Impact Factor: 2.703)
  7. Day, M.A., & Thorn, B.E. (2016). The mediating role of pain acceptance during mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for headache. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 25, 51-54. (ERA: A*; Impact Factor: 1.935).
  8. Day, M.A., Ehde, D.M., Ward, L.C., Hartoonian, N., Alschuler, K., Turner, A.P., Kraft, G.H., & Jensen, M.P. (2016). An Empirical Investigation of a Biopsychosocial Model of Pain in Multiple Sclerosis. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 32(2), 155-163. (ERA: A; Impact Factor: 2.703)
  9. Day, M.A., Ehde, D.M., & Jensen, M.P. (2015). Psychosocial pain management moderation: The Limit, Activate and Enhance model. Journal of Pain, 16(10), 947-960. (ERA: A; Impact Factor: 4.463).
  10. Hartoonian, N., Terrill, A., Beier, M., Turner, A., Day, M.A., Alschuler, K. (2015). Predictors of anxiety in Multiple Sclerosis. Rehabilitation Psychology, 60(1), 91-98. (ERA: B; Impact Factor: 1.539)
  11. Day, M.A., Smitherman, A., Ward, L.C., & Thorn, B.E. (2015). An investigation of the associations between measures of mindfulness and pain catastrophizing. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 31(3), 222-228. (ERA: A; Impact Factor: 2.703)
  12. Day, M.A., Jensen, M.P., Ehde, D.M., Thorn, B.E. (2014). Towards a theoretical model for mindfulness-based pain management. Journal of Pain, 15(7), 691-703. (ERA: A; Impact Factor: 4.463).
  13. Day, M.A., Rich, M.A., Thorn, B.E., Berbaum, & M. Mangieri, G. (2014). A placebo-controlled trial of midazolam as an adjunct to morphine after spinal surgery. Journal of Clinical Anesthesia, 26(4), 300-308. (ERA: C; Impact Factor: 1.284).
  14. Day, M.A., Thorn, B.E., & Rubin, N. (2014). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for the treatment of headache pain: A mixed-methods analysis comparing treatment responders and treatment non-responders. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 22(2), 278-85. (ERA: A*; Impact Factor: 1.935).
  15. Day, M.A., & Thorn, B.E. (2014). Using theoretical models to clarify shared and unique mechanisms in psychosocial pain treatments. Journal of Pain, 15(3), 237-8. (ERA: A; Impact Factor: 4.463).
  16. Jensen, M.P., Day, M.A., Miró, J. (2014). Neuromodulatory treatments for chronic pain: Efficacy and mechanisms. Nature Reviews Neurology, 10,167-178. (ERA: A*; Impact Factor: 18.418).
  17. Day, M.A., Thorn, B.E., Ward, L.C. et al. (2014). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for the treatment of headache pain: A pilot study. The Clinical Journal of Pain,30(2), 152-161. (ERA: A; Impact Factor: 2.703)
  18. Burns, J., Day, M.A., & Thorn, B.E. (2012). Is reduction in pain catastrophizing a therapeutic mechanism specific to cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic pain? Translational Behavioral Medicine: Practice, Policy and Research, 2(1), 22-29. (ERA: New Journal, no current ranking; Impact Factor: 2.189).
  19. Day, M.A., Thorn, B.E., & Burns, J. (2012). The continuing evolution of biopsychosocial interventions for chronic pain. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 26(2), 114-129. (ERA: B; no impact factor)
  20. Tsui, P., Day, M.A., Thorn, B.E., Rubin, N., Alexander, C., & Jones, R. (2012). The Communal Coping Model of Catastrophizing: Patient-Health Provider Interactions. Pain Medicine, 13(1), 66-79. (ERA: B; Impact Factor: 2.339)
  21. Thorn, B.E., Day, M.A., Burns, J. et al. (2011). Randomized trial of group cognitive-behavioral therapy compared to a pain education control for low literacy rural people with chronic pain. Pain, 152(12), 2710-20. (ERA: A; Impact Factor: 5.557).
  22. Day, M.A., Thorn, B.E., & Kapoor, S. (2011). A qualitative analysis of a randomized controlled trial comparing a cognitive-behavioral treatment with education. Journal of Pain, 12(9), 941-952. (ERA: A; Impact Factor: 4.463).
  23. Kuhajda, M.C., Thorn, B.E., Gaskins, S.W., Day, M.A., & Cabbil, C.M. (2011). Literacy and cultural adaptations for cognitive behavioral therapy in a rural pain population. Translational Behavioral Medicine: Practice, Policy and Research, 1(2), 216-223. (ERA: New Journal, no current ranking; Impact Factor: 2.189).
  24. Pence, L. B., Thorn, B.E., Day, M.A., & Shelby, G. (2011). Race and sex differences in primary appraisals, catastrophizing, and experimental pain outcomes. Journal of Pain, 12(5), 563-572. (ERA: A; Impact Factor: 4.463).
  25. Day, M.A., & Thorn, B.E. (2010). The relationship of demographic and psychosocial variables to pain-related outcomes in a rural chronic pain population. Pain, 151(2), 467-74. (ERA: A; Impact Factor: 5.557).


  1. Day, M.A. (2017). Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Chronic Pain: A Clinical Manual and Guide. Chichester, UK: Wiley.
  2. Dorrian, J., Thorsteinsson, E., Di Benedetto, M., Lane-Krebs, K., Day, M.A., Hutchinson, A., Sherman, K. (2017) Health Psychology in Australia. Port Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.


  1. Day, M.A. (2017). Pain and its optimal management. In Dorrian, J., Thorsteinsson, E., Di Benedetto, M., Lane-Krebs, K., Day, M.A., Hutchinson, A., Sherman, K., Health psychology in Australia. Cambridge University Press, 261-281.
  2. Day, M.A. (2016). The application of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for chronic pain. In, Eisendrath, S. (Ed.), Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: Innovative applications. Springer, 65-74.
  3. Day, M.A., Eyer, J., & Thorn, B.E. (2013). Therapeutic Relaxation. The Wiley Handbook of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Complete Reference Guide. Volume 1: CBT General Strategies. Wiley-Blackwell, 157-180.
Research Area:

My broad area of research expertise for honours thesis supervision is in the area of Clinical Psychology, and more specifically, in the area of pain (acute and chronic) assessment and management. I am interested in a cognitive-behavioural conceptualisation, with also a focus on the role of mindfulness and acceptance in the experience as well as management of pain.

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