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Papers of the Week

Papers: 16 Dec 2023 - 22 Dec 2023

2023 Dec 18

J Pain


Internet-delivered psychological pain-management for young adults with chronic pain: An investigation of clinical trial data.


Dudeney J, Scott AJ, Hathway T, Bisby MA, Harte N, Titov N, Dear BF


Young adults report chronic pain at rates of around 12% but lack access to clinical services. There is interest in learning how this emerging adult population engage with and respond to treatment. Using data from young adults aged 18-30 years (M=25.8, SD=3.2), taken from four previous randomised controlled trials, the current study investigated the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of an internet-delivered psychological pain-management intervention for young adults with chronic pain. We compared young adults in a treatment group (n=104) with (1) a young adult wait-list control group (n=48), and (2) a treatment group reflecting the average-aged participant from the previous trials (39-63 years, n=561). Feasibility was determined through treatment engagement, adherence and completion, and acceptability through a treatment satisfaction measure. Clinical outcomes were disability, pain intensity, anxiety, and depression; assessed at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and 3-month follow-up. Generalised estimation equation analyses were undertaken, using multiple imputation to account for missing data. Young adults had high engagement and acceptability ratings, though 34% did not complete the intervention. The treatment group significant improved across all outcomes, compared with control, with improvements maintained at follow-up. Post-treatment improvements were equivalent for young adult and average-aged adult treatments groups, with no significant differences in feasibility or acceptability outcomes. Findings indicate young adults can engage with and show improvements following a psychological pain-management intervention designed for all adults with chronic pain. Future research is encouraged to examine outcomes related to role functioning of young adults, and moderators of treatment acceptability and efficacy for this population. PERSPECTIVE: Secondary analysis of data from four RCTs found an internet-delivered psychological pain-management intervention acceptable and clinically efficacious for improving disability, anxiety, depression and pain intensity in young adults (18-30) with chronic pain.