Spouse-assisted coping skills training in the management of osteoarthritic knee pain

Arthritis Care Res. 1996 Aug;9(4):279-91. doi: 10.1002/1529-0131(199608)9:4<279::aid-anr1790090413>3.0.co;2-6.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of a spouse-assisted pain-coping skills training intervention on pain, psychological disability, physical disability, pain-coping, and pain behavior in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knees.

Methods: Eighty-eight OA patients with persistent knee pain were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: 1) spouse-assisted pain-coping skills training, (spouse-assisted CST), 2) a conventional CST intervention with no spouse involvement (CST), or 3) an arthritis education-spousal support (AE-SS) control condition. All treatment was carried out in 10 weekly, 2-hour group sessions.

Results: Data analysis revealed that at the completion of treatment, patients in the spouse-assisted CST condition had significantly lower levels of pain, psychological disability, and pain behavior, and higher scores on measures of coping attempts, marital adjustment, and self-efficacy than patients in the AE-SS control condition. Compared to patients in the AE-SS control condition, patients who received CST without spouse involvement had significantly higher post-treatment levels of self-efficacy and marital adjustment and showed a tendency toward lower levels of pain and psychological disability and higher scores on measures of coping attempts and ratings of the perceived effectiveness of pain-coping strategies.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that spouse-assisted CST has potential as a method for reducing pain and disability in OA patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Disabled Persons
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / complications*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Spouses / psychology*