Objective: The aim of this study was to compare 2 self-help-based interventions; a coping-oriented approach, applied relaxation (AR) and an acceptance-oriented approach, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), for persons with chronic pain.
Method: This study is a randomized control trial (N=90) with a mixed between-within participants design with repeated measures. Interventions in both conditions comprised an initial face-to-face session, a 7-week manual-based self-help intervention including weekly therapist telephone support and a concluding face-to-face session. Outcome measures included satisfaction with life, depression, anxiety, acceptance of chronic pain, level of function, and pain intensity. Effects were measured at preintervention and postintervention and at 6 and 12 months after the end of intervention.
Results: The results show that the ACT condition increased their level of acceptance significantly compared with the AR condition. There was also a marginally significant interaction effect regarding satisfaction with life in which the ACT condition had improved in comparison to the AR condition. Further, the ACT condition reported a higher level of function and decreased pain intensity compared with the AR condition. Both conditions improved significantly regarding depression and anxiety.
Conclusions: A manual-based self-help intervention with weekly therapist support in an ACT format adds value to the treatment repertoire for persons suffering with chronic pain.