A Small Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial Comparing Mobile and Traditional Pain Coping Skills Training Protocols for Cancer Patients with Pain

Pain Res Treat. 2016;2016:2473629. doi: 10.1155/2016/2473629. Epub 2016 Nov 6.


Psychosocial pain management interventions are efficacious for cancer pain but are underutilized. Recent advances in mobile health (mHealth) technologies provide new opportunities to decrease barriers to access psychosocial pain management interventions. The objective of this study was to gain information about the accessibility and efficacy of mobile pain coping skills training (mPCST) intervention delivered to cancer patients with pain compared to traditional in-person pain coping skills training intervention. This study randomly assigned participants (N = 30) to receive either mobile health pain coping skills training intervention delivered via Skype or traditional pain coping skills training delivered face-to-face (PCST-trad). This pilot trial suggests that mPCST is feasible, presents low burden to patients, may lead to high patient engagement, and appears to be acceptable to patients. Cancer patients with pain in the mPCST group reported decreases in pain severity and physical symptoms as well as increases in self-efficacy for pain management that were comparable to changes in the PCST-trad group (p's < 0.05). These findings suggest that mPCST, which is a highly accessible intervention, may provide benefits similar to an in-person intervention and shows promise for being feasible, acceptable, and engaging to cancer patients with pain.