Psychological interventions for arthritis pain management in adults: a meta-analysis

Health Psychol. 2007 May;26(3):241-50. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.26.3.241.


Context: The psychosocial impact of arthritis can be profound. There is growing interest in psychosocial interventions for managing pain and disability in arthritis patients.

Objective: This meta-analysis reports on the efficacy of psychosocial interventions for arthritis pain and disability.

Data sources: Articles evaluating psychosocial interventions for arthritis were identified through Cochrane Controlled Trials, EMBASE, Ovid MEDLINE, and Ovid PsycINFO data sources.

Study selection: Randomized controlled trials testing the efficacy of psychosocial interventions in arthritis pain management were reviewed.

Data extraction: Twenty-seven randomized controlled trials were analyzed. Pain intensity was the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes included psychological, physical, and biological functioning.

Data synthesis: An overall effect size of 0.177 (95% CI=0.256-0.094) indicated that patients receiving psychosocial interventions reported significantly lower pain than patients in control conditions (combined p=.01). Meta-analyses also supported the efficacy of psychosocial interventions for the secondary outcomes.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that psychosocial interventions may have significant effects on pain and other outcomes in arthritis patients. Ample evidence for the additional benefit of such interventions over and above that of standard medical care was found.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • United States