Vowles et al., 2007

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Vowles, K., McNeil, D.W., Bates, M., Gallimore, P. & McCall, C. (2007). Effects of pain acceptance and pain control strategies on physical impairment in individuals with chronic low back pain. Behavior Therapy, 38, 412-425.

Abstract
Psychosocial treatments for chronic pain are effective. There is a need, however, to understand the processes involved in determining how these treatments contribute to behavior change. Control and acceptance strategies represent two potentially important processes involved in treatment, although they differ significantly in approach. Results from laboratory-based studies suggest that acceptance-oriented strategies significantly enhance pain tolerance and behavioral persistence, compared with control-oriented strategies. There is a need, however, to investigate processes of acceptance and control directly in clinical settings. The present study investigated the effects of three brief instructional sets (pain control, pain acceptance, continued practice) on demonstrated physical impairment in 74 individuals with chronic low back pain using an analogue experimental design. After controlling for baseline performance, the pain acceptance group demonstrated greater overall functioning on a set of 7 standardized physical tasks relative to the other two groups, which did not differ from one another. Further, the acceptance group exhibited a 16.3% improvement in impairment, whereas the pain control group worsened by 8.3% and the continued practice group improved by 2.5%. These results suggest that acceptance may be a key process involved in behavior change in individuals with chronic pain.

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