OBJECTIVES: In order to maximize the therapeutic benefits of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for chronic pain, individuals need to be motivated to adopt a self-management approach. The Pain Stages of Change Questionnaire (PSOCQ) was developed to measure patients' readiness to adopt a self-management approach to chronic pain. The present study examined whether pretreatment and posttreatment PSOCQ change scores among chronic low back pain patients could predict 6- and 12-month follow-up outcomes, and the stability of posttreatment PSOCQ scores during follow-up.
METHODS: Participants were recruited from a VA primary care clinic. Data from 60 participants assigned to either regular CBT or a modified CBT (ie, PRIME CBT) condition were analyzed in the present study. Self-report measures including PSOCQ, pain severity, disability, and depressive symptom severity were administered at pretreatment, 10 weeks posttreatment, 6-month and follow-up assessments.
RESULTS: Multiple regression analyses showed that pretreatment and posttreatment changes in the Action/Maintenance scores significantly predicted pain severity at 6 months, and changes in the Precontemplation scores significantly predicted disability at 6 months. None of the PSOCQ change scores significantly predicted depressive symptom severity. Posttreatment Precontemplation and Action/Maintenance scores were quite stable, even at 12-month follow-up.
CONCLUSIONS: Changes in patients' attitudes toward adopting a pain self-management approach may serve as one of the therapeutic mechanisms and predict long-term function. This study also revealed that changed attitudes toward chronic pain self-management remain quite stable over time. Adoption of beliefs consistent with chronic pain self-management during treatment may promote sustained benefits.
The objectives of the study are interesting but could not been answered with confidence enough due to the small sample size.