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Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Jun 2023 - 30 Jun 2023

Clinical, Methodology, Psychology

Human Studies, Neurobiology, Neuroimaging


2023 Jun 21

J Pain


Who Benefits the Most from Different Psychological Chronic Pain Treatments? An Exploratory Analysis of Treatment Moderators.


Jensen MP, Ehde DM, Hakimian S, Pettet MW, Day MA, Ciol MA


Different psychological chronic pain treatments benefit some individuals more than others. Understanding the factors that are associated with treatment response – especially when those factors differ between treatments – may inform more effective patient-treatment matching. This study aimed to identify variables that moderate treatment response to four psychological pain interventions in a sample of adults with low back pain or chronic pain associated with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, acquired amputation, or muscular dystrophy (N = 173). The current study presents the results from secondary exploratory analyses using data from a randomized controlled clinical trial which compared the effects of four sessions of cognitive therapy (CT), hypnosis focused on pain reduction (HYP), hypnosis focused on changing pain-related cognitions and beliefs (HYP-CT), and a pain education control condition (ED). The analyses tested the effects of seven potential treatment moderators. Measures of primary (pain intensity) and secondary (pain interference, depression severity) outcome domains were administered before and after the pain treatments, and potential moderators (catastrophizing, hypnotizability, and EEG-assessed oscillation power across five bandwidths) were assessed at pre-treatment. Moderator effects were tested fitting regression analyses to pre- to post-treatment changes in the three outcome variables. The study findings, while preliminary, support the premise that pre-treatment measures of hypnotizability and EEG brain activity predict who is more (or less) likely to respond to different psychological pain treatments. If additional research replicates the findings, it may be possible to better match patients to their more individually suitable treatment, ultimately improving pain treatment outcomes. PERSPECTIVE: Pre-treatment measures of hypnotizability and EEG-assessed brain activity predicted who was more (or less) likely to respond to different psychological pain treatments. If these findings are replicated in future studies, they could inform the development of patient-treatment matching algorithms.