Psychosocial Mechanisms of Cognitive-Behavioral-Based Physical Therapy Outcomes After Spine Surgery: Preliminary Findings From Mediation Analyses.
OBJECTIVE: Changing Behavior through Physical Therapy (CBPT), a cognitive-behavioral-based program, has been shown to improve outcomes after lumbar spine surgery in patients with a high psychosocial risk profile; however, little is known about potential mechanisms associated with CBPT treatment effects. The purpose of this study was to explore potential mediators underlying CBPT efficacy after spine surgery. METHODS: In this secondary analysis, 86 participants were enrolled in a randomized trial comparing a postoperative CBPT (n = 43) and education program (n = 43). Participants completed validated questionnaires at 6 weeks (baseline) and 3 and 6 months following surgery for back pain (Brief Pain Inventory), disability (Oswestry Disability Index), physical health (12-Item Short-Form Health Survey), fear of movement (Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia), pain catastrophizing (Pain Catastrophizing Scale), and pain self-efficacy (Pain Self-Efficacy Questionnaire). Parallel multiple mediation analyses using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) were conducted to examine whether 3- and 6-month changes in fear of movement, pain catastrophizing, and pain self-efficacy mediate treatment outcome effects at 6 months. RESULTS: Six-month changes, but not 3-month changes, in fear of movement and pain self-efficacy mediated postoperative outcomes at 6 months. Specifically, changes in fear of movement mediated the effects of CBPT treatment on disability (indirect effect = -2.0 [95% CI = -4.3 to 0.3]), whereas changes in pain self-efficacy mediated the effects of CBPT treatment on physical health (indirect effect = 3.5 [95% CI = 1.2 to 6.1]). CONCLUSIONS: This study advances evidence on potential mechanisms underlying cognitive-behavioral strategies. Future work with larger samples is needed to establish whether these factors are a definitive causal mechanism. IMPACT: Fear of movement and pain self-efficacy may be important mechanisms to consider when developing and testing psychologically informed physical therapy programs.
Coronado, RA; Ehde, DM; Pennings, JS; Vanston, SW; Koyama, T; Phillips, SE; Mathis, SL; McGirt, MJ; Spengler, DM; Aaronson, OS; Cheng, JS; Devin, CJ; Wegener, ST; Archer, KR
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