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Papers of the Week

Papers: 30 Dec 2023 - 5 Jan 2024

2023 Dec 30

Transl Behav Med


Trends in engagement with cognitive-behavioral therapy for chronic pain conditions after referral.


Kozel G, Leary OP, Losee Y, Ma KL, Carayannopoulos AG, Morris J, McLaughlin E


Cognitive-behavioral therapy for chronic pain (CBT-CP) is an important evidence-based non-pharmacologic treatment for chronic back and neck pain that is frequently recommended as a component of multidisciplinary treatment. However, the success of CBP-CP’s implementation in clinical settings is affected by a variety of poorly understood obstacles to patient engagement with CBT-CP. Expanding upon the limited prior research conducted in heterogeneous practice settings, this study examines patterns of treatment initiation for CBT-CP at an interdisciplinary, hospital-based chronic pain practice and conducts exploratory comparisons between groups of patients who did and did not engage in CBT-CP after receiving a referral. Patients’ descriptive data, including pain severity, work status, prior therapy, and behavioral health questionnaire scores at intake visit, were obtained through a retrospective chart review of electronic medical records. Data were then analyzed using inter-group comparisons and logistic regression modeling to determine factors that predicted treatment initiation for CBT-CP. On multivariate analysis, we found that patient’s depression level as measured by their Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) score was solely predictive of treatment initiation, as chronic pain patients with a higher level of depression were found to be more likely to attend their recommended appointments of CBT-CP. Anxiety score as measured by GAD-7, work status, pain scores, and prior therapy engagement were not independently predictive. No single “profile” of patient-level factors was found to delineate patients who did and did not initiate CBT-CP, demonstrating the limitations of clinical variables as predictors of uptake.