Article by Joan Broderick, PhD, and Colleagues Published in Clinical Journal of Pain

The results of a study conducted by Joan Broderick, PhD, and colleagues were published by the Clinical Journal of Pain on-line ahead of print, December 20, 2010.

Dr. Broderick is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University. Her collaborators included Doerte Junghaenel, PhD, and Stefan Schneider, PhD, from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Patricia Bruckenthal, PhD, RN, ANP-C, from the School of Nursing at Stony Brook University, and Francis Keefe, PhD, from Duke University Medical Center.

In the article, titled “Treatment Expectation for Pain Coping Skills Training: Relationship to Osteoarthritis Patients’ Baseline Psychosocial Characteristics,” Dr. Broderick and her team examine relationships between characteristics of patients who are about to enter a course of treatment for osteoarthritic pain and the patients’ expectations about how helpful the treatment will be. While a few studies have addressed this question in relation to other forms of pain, this is the first study to address it in osteoarthritis.

This manuscript reports on data from an ongoing clinical trial being conducted by Dr. Broderick and her associates to test the effectiveness of a treatment program to help people cope with persistent knee or hip pain resulting from osteoarthritis. Understanding the links between patient characteristics and their expectations about treatment will help the researchers to identify personal factors that may be associated with the decision to enroll in this treatment. In addition, it will contribute to the theoretical framework of motivational processes that underlie optimal engagement in treatment and clinical outcomes.

A hundred and seventy-one patients participated in the study. After the proposed treatment was explained to them and they agreed to participate, they were given an extensive battery of tests. One questionnaire measured their expectations for the proposed treatment; other instruments were used to gather demographic information, to obtain information about how they are currently affected by pain and coping with it, and to measure depressed mood.

The team found that patients who are categorized as ‘adaptive copers’, who reported higher self-efficacy and social interaction, had a higher quality of life and lower levels of depression were more likely to have more positive expectations about engaging in treatment. These results support clinical observations that patients who are most in need of these types of treatments may require clinical interventions to motivate them to engage in the treatment and derive the maximum benefit from it. Motivational Interviewing is one such approach that is gaining empirical support.

The study is supported by the National Institutes of Health and Stony Brook University General Clinical Research Center. The Clinical Journal of Pain is a publication of the Eastern Pain Association.