Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for chronic pain: Evidence of mediation and clinically significant change following an abbreviated interdisciplinary program of rehabilitation

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APA Citation: 

Vowles, K. E., Witkiewitz, K., Sowden, G., & Ashworth, J. (2014). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for chronic pain: Evidence of mediation and clinically significant change following an abbreviated interdisciplinary program of rehabilitation. The Journal of Pain, 15(1), 101-113.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Empirical
Publication Type: 
Article
Language: 
English
Keyword(s): 
Acceptance and commitment therapy; chronic pain; interdisciplinary; growth modeling; reliable change; clinical significance
Abstract: 

There is an emerging body of evidence regarding interdisciplinary acceptance and commitment therapy in the rehabilitative treatment of chronic pain. This study evaluated the reliability and clinical significance of change following an open trial that was briefer than that examined in previous work. In addition, the possible mediating effect of psychological flexibility, which is theorized to underlie the acceptance and commitment therapy model, was examined. Participants included 117 completers of an interdisciplinary program of rehabilitation for chronic pain. Assessment took place at treatment onset and conclusion, and at a 3-month follow-up when 78 patients (66.7%) provided data. At the 3-month follow-up, 46.2% of patients achieved clinically significant change, and 58.9% achieved reliable change, in at least 1 key measure of functioning (depression, pain anxiety, and disability). Changes in measures of psychological flexibility significantly mediated changes in disability, depression, pain-related anxiety, number of medical visits, and the number of classes of prescribed analgesics. These results add to the growing body of evidence supporting interdisciplinary acceptance and commitment therapy for chronic pain, particularly with regard to the clinical significance of an abbreviated course of treatment. Further, improvements appear to be mediated by changes in the processes specified within the theoretical model.

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