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Psychological Interventions Do Not Reduce Pain, Despite Claims Of Proponents

Monday 4 September 2017


From James C Coyne's blog Quick Thoughts:


James C Coyne
James C Coyne

Psychological interventions do not reduce pain, despite claims of proponents

By James C Coyne
2 September 2017

A provocative review finds a “lack of strong supporting empirical evidence for the effectiveness of psychological treatments for pain management.”

The open access paper

Georgios Markozannes, Eleni Aretouli, Evangelia Rintou, Elena Dragioti, Dimitrios Damigos, Evangelia Ntzani, Evangelos Evangelou and Konstantinos K. Tsilidis. An umbrella review of the literature on the effectiveness of psychological interventions for pain reduction, BMC Psychology

This article received open or public peer review. The three versions, reviewers’ comments, and author responses are available here

Why this review was needed

According to the review:

Psychological interventions were introduced over 40 years ago and are now well established in clinical practice [5]

…the effect sizes across all meta-analyses are modest, only rising above a medium-size effect (i.e., standardised mean difference larger than 0.5) in lower quality studies [4].

… Because of the wide implementation of psychological interventions in pain management and the elevated likelihood for biases in this field as shown in prior relevant empirical research [19, 20], we used an umbrella review approach [21, 22] that systematically appraises the evidence on an entire field across many meta-analyses. In the present study we aimed to broaden the scope of a typical umbrella review by further evaluating the strength of the evidence and the extent of potential biases [23, 24, 25, 26, 27] on this body of literature.


Full article…



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