The effect of a cognitive-behavioral therapy chronic pain management program on perceived stigma: A clinical controlled trial (pp. 291-299)
Authors: Pravesh K Vallabh, Saifudin Rashiq, Michelle J Verrier, Glen Baker, Blaine Sanderman, and Bruce D Dick
Abstract: Individuals with chronic pain often report experiencing stigmatization. There is little published data on perceived stigma in people with chronic pain, and to the best of our knowledge, no published data on the effect of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) on perceived stigma. This study examined perceived stigma and associated factors in adults with chronic pain and whether involving a family member or friend in treatment would reduce perceived stigma. We also sought to further validate the use of the Chronic Pain Stigma Scale (CPSS) using a Canadian sample of individuals with chronic pain. A total of 71 patients from a tertiary care Multidisciplinary Pain Centre completed the CPSS. This sample was divided into three groups: those who attended treatment programming alone, those who brought a family member or friend to the first session of treatment and waitlist controls. Stigmatization was high in our patients. While treatment was successful in reducing anxiety and pain-related disability, CBT had no effect on perceived stigma across groups. Including a family member or friend early in treatment reduced perceived stigma from physicians. Our findings of level of stigmatization in our clinical sample were highly similar to data collected in a clinically and geographically different population. Our outcomes confirmed that stigma is prevalent in chronic pain. Pain-focused CBT, while effective in its declared objectives, did not mitigate the perception of stigma. While helping reduce perceived stigma may be valuable, it appears that a primary focus should also be to educate and change public views toward chronic pain.