Pain coping skills training in the management of osteoarthritic knee pain: A comparative study


Journal Article

The purpose of this study was to determine whether a cognitive-behavioral intervention designed to improve pain coping skills could reduce pain, physical disability, psychological disability, and pain behavior in osteoarthritic knee pain patients. Patients in this study were older adults (mean age=64 years) having persistent pain (mean duration=12 years), who were diagnosed as having osteoarthritis of the knee on the basis of medical evaluation and x-rays. Patients were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: pain coping skills training, arthritis education, or a standard care control condition. Patients in the pain coping skills training condition (n=32) attended 10 weekly group sessions training them to recognize and reduce irrational cognitions and to use attention diversion and changes in activity patterns to control and decrease pain. Arthritis education subjects (n=36) attended 10 weekly group sessions providing them with detailed information on osteoarthritis. Standard care control subjects (n=31) continued with their routine care. Measures of coping strategies, pain, psychological disability, physical disability, medication use, and pain behavior were collected from all subjects before and after treatment. Results indicated that patients receiving pain coping skills training had significantly lower levels of pain and psychological disability post-treatment than patients receiving arthritis education or standard care. Correlational analyses revealed that patients in the pain coping skills training group who reported increases in the perceived effectiveness of their coping strategies were more likely to have lower levels of physical disability post-treatment. Taken together, these findings indicate that pain coping skills training can reduce pain and psychological disability in osteoarthritis patients. Future studies should examine whether behavioral rehearsal or spouse training can strengthen the effects of pain coping skills training in order to reduce physical disability and pain behavior as well as pain and psychological disability. © 1990 Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Keefe, FJ; Caldwell, DS; Williams, DA; Gil, KM; Mitchell, D; Robertson, C; Martinez, S; Nunley, J; Beckham, JC; Crisson, JE; Helms, M

Published Date

  • January 1, 1990

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 21 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 49 - 62

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0005-7894

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/S0005-7894(05)80188-1

Citation Source

  • Scopus