Randomized controlled trial of a community-based psychoeducation program for the self-management of chronic pain

Pain. 1998 Feb;74(2-3):297-306. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3959(97)00190-5.


Although chronic pain is a frequent cause of suffering and disability and is costly to society, there continues to be limited access to specialty pain clinic services. Hence, there is a need for cost-effective, accessible interventions that will help people find ways to better manage this difficult problem. This randomized controlled trial examined the effect of a low-cost, community-based, nurse-delivered, group psychoeducation program entitled the Chronic Pain Self-Management Program (CPSMP). It has a standard protocol that was modified from the successful Arthritis Self-Management Program (ASMP). One hundred and ten individuals with mixed idiopathic chronic pain conditions were enrolled in the study (75% female; mean age 40 years; mean chronicity 6 years) and were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: the 12-h (CPSMP) intervention group, or the 3-month wait-list control group. Self-report measures of pain-related and other quality of life variables as well as two hypothesized mediating variables were collected pre-treatment and 3 months later by assessors blind to group allocation. One hundred and two subjects completed the study. Results of intention-to-treat analysis indicated that the treatment group made significant short-term improvements in pain, dependency, vitality, aspects of role functioning, life satisfaction and in self-efficacy and resourcefulness as compared to the wait-list control group. Because it has a standard protocol, this intervention has the potential to be reliably delivered at low cost in varied urban and rural community settings and hence be more widely accessible to a greater number of people suffering from chronic pain than is currently the case with more specialized pain clinic services. Based on the results of this study, further research evaluating the long-term impact and potential cost savings to the individual and to the health care system is warranted.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Cognition
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Dependency, Psychological
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / nursing*
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Care*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome