Acceptance-based treatment for persons with complex, long standing chronic pain: a preliminary analysis of treatment outcome in comparison to a waiting phase

Behav Res Ther. 2005 Oct;43(10):1335-46. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2004.10.003. Epub 2005 Jan 7.


The concept of acceptance is receiving increased attention as an alternate approach to the suffering that is often associated with persistent and disabling pain. This approach differs from established treatments in that it does not principally focus on reducing pain, but on reducing the distressing and disabling influences of pain as they concern important areas in patients' lives. The present analyses represent a preliminary evaluation of an acceptance-based approach to chronic pain within an interdisciplinary treatment program. One hundred and eight patients with complex chronic pain conditions completed treatment and provided data for the current study. Treatment was conducted in a 3- or 4-week residential or hospital-based format. It included a number of exposure-based, experiential, and other behavior change methods focused on increasing (a) engagement in daily activity regardless of pain and (b) willingness to have pain present without responding to it. Significant improvements in emotional, social, and physical functioning, and healthcare use were demonstrated following treatment. The majority of improvements continued at 3-months post-treatment. Improvements in most outcomes during treatment were correlated with increases in acceptance, supporting the proposed process of treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attitude to Health
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Management*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Patient Care Team
  • Psychology, Social
  • Residential Treatment / methods
  • Rest / psychology
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome