Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Selective Optimization with Compensation for Institutionalized Older People with Chronic Pain

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Abstract

Objective.

Recent studies support the efficacy of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) with people with chronic pain. In addition, Selective Optimization with Compensation strategies (SOC) can help the elderly with chronic pain to accept their chronic condition and increase functional autonomy. Our aim was to analyze the efficacy of an ACT treatment program combined with training in SOC strategies for elderly people with chronic pain living in nursing homes.

Methods.

101 participants (mean age = 82.26; SD = 10.00; 78.6% female) were randomized to the intervention condition (ACT-SOC) or to a minimal support group (MS). Complete data are available for 53 participants (ACT-SOC: n = 27; MS: n = 26). Assessments of functional performance, pain intensity, pain acceptance, SOC strategies, emotional well being and catastrophizing beliefs were done preintervention and postintervention.

Results.

Significant time by intervention changes (P= 0.05) were found in acceptance, pain related anxiety, compensation strategies, and pain interference in walking ability. Simple effects changes were found in acceptance (P= 0.01), selection strategies (P= 0.05), catastrophizing beliefs (P= 0.03), depressive symptoms (P= 0.05), pain anxiety (P= 0.01) and pain interference in mood and walking ability (P= 0.03) in the ACT-SOC group. No significant changes were found in the MS group.

Conclusions.

These results suggest that an ACT intervention combined with training in SOC strategies could help older people with pain to improve their emotional well being and their functional capability.

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