The Effectiveness of a Dyadic Pain Management Program for Community-Dwelling Older Adults with Chronic Pain: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jul 9;17(14):4966. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17144966.


Background: Chronic pain is a major health problem among older adults and their informal caregivers, which has negative effects on their physical and psychological status. The dyadic pain management program (DPMP) is provided to community-dwelling older adults and informal caregivers to help the dyads reduce pain symptoms, improve the quality of life, develop good exercise habits, as well as cope and break the vicious circle of pain.

Methods: A pilot randomized controlled trial was designed and all the dyads were randomly divided into two groups: the DPMP group and control group. Dyads in the DPMP group participated in an 8-week DPMP (4-week face-to-face program and 4-week home-based program), whereas dyads in the control group received one page of simple pain-related information.

Results: In total, 64 dyads participated in this study. For baseline comparisons, no significant differences were found between the two groups. After the interventions, the pain score was significantly reduced from 4.25 to 2.57 in the experimental group, respectively. In the repeated measures ANOVA, the differences in pain score (F = 107.787, p < 0.001, d = 0.777) was statistically significant for the group-by-time interaction. After the interventions, the experimental group participants demonstrated significantly higher pain self-efficacy compared with the control group (F = 80.535, p < 0.001, d = 0.722). Furthermore, the elderly increased exercise time significantly (F = 111.212, p < 0.001, d = 0.782) and reported developing good exercise habits.

Conclusions: These results provide preliminary support for the effectiveness of a DPMP for relieving the symptoms of chronic pain among the elderly.

Keywords: chronic pain; dyadic pain management; informal caregiver; older adult.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Pain* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Independent Living*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Management*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life