Acceptance and Values-Based Action in Chronic Pain: A Study of Treatment Effectiveness and Process

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Abstract

Developing approaches within cognitive behavioral therapy are increasingly process-oriented and based on a functional and contextual framework that differs from the focus of earlier work. The present study investigated the effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy (S. C. Hayes, K. Strosahl, & K. G. Wilson, 1999) in the treatment of chronic pain and also examined 2 processes from this model, acceptance and values-based action. Participants included 171 completers of an interdisciplinary treatment program, 66.7% of whom completed a 3-month follow-up assessment as well. Results indicated significant improvements for pain, depression, pain-related anxiety, disability, medical visits, work status, and physical performance. Effect size statistics were uniformly medium or larger. According to reliable change analyses, 75.4% of patients demonstrated improvement in at least one key domain. Both acceptance of pain and values-based action improved, and increases in these processes were associated with improvements in the primary outcome domains.

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