Effects of a stress-reduction program on psychological function, pain, and physical function of systemic lupus erythematosus patients: a randomized controlled trial

Arthritis Rheum. 2004 Aug 15;51(4):625-34. doi: 10.1002/art.20533.


Objective: To assess the effects of a stress-reduction program on pain, psychological function, and physical function in persons with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who experience pain.

Methods: Ninety-two SLE patients were assigned randomly to receive either biofeedback-assisted cognitive-behavioral treatment (BF/CBT), a symptom-monitoring support (SMS) intervention, or usual medical care (UC) alone.

Results: BF/CBT participants had significantly greater reductions in pain and psychological dysfunction compared with the SMS group (pain, P = 0.044; psychological functioning, P < 0.001) and the UC group (pain, P = 0.028; psychological functioning, P < 0.001). BF/CBT had significantly greater improvement in perceived physical function compared with UC (P = 0.035), and improvement relative to SMS was marginally significant (P = 0.097). At a 9-month followup evaluation, BF/CBT continued to exhibit relative benefit compared with UC in psychological functioning (P = 0.023).

Conclusion: This study supports the utility of a brief stress management program for short-term improvement in pain, psychological function, and perceived physical function among persons with SLE who experience pain.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Biofeedback, Psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / psychology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Management*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome