Anderson, K.O., Cohen, M.Z., Mendoza, T.R., Guo, H., Harle, M.T., & Cleeland, C.S. (2006). Brief cognitive-behavioral audiotape interventions for cancer-related pain: Immediate but not long-term effectiveness. Cancer, 107(1), 207–214.doi: 10.1002/cncr.21964
To evaluate the effect of three brief cognitive behavioral interventions as adjunct treatment for chronic cancer-related pain
Patients were randomly assigned to one of four groups: relaxation, distraction, positive mood, or wait-list control. Patients in the relaxation, distraction, and positive-mood groups received audiotapes and instructions to practice a specific psychoeducational technique at least five times weekly.The relaxation group received a 20-minute audiotape providing standard progressive muscle relaxation instructions. Patients in the distraction group selected an audiotape on a topic such as history, foreign language, or geography. Patients in the positive-mood group received audiotapes of positive-mood statements and positive-imagery suggestions. The research nurse telephoned all patients periodically to answer questions and encourage use of the assigned tapes. Patients completed assessments at baseline and in weeks 2–3, weeks 4–5, and weeks 8–9. For the first seven weeks, patients rated pain, according to a visual analog scale (VAS), before and after using the audiotapes.
Randomized controlled trial
Subjects in the distraction and control groups reported a significant decrease (p < 0.05) in worst pain severity from baseline to follow-up at 2–3 weeks. Subjects in the positive-mood and control groups reported a significant decrease (p < 0.05) in BPI average pain score from baseline to the follow-up at 2–3 weeks. Analysis of mailed data showed that patients in the distraction group reported a mean reduction in pain severity of 1.16 (p = 0.004) and that, after listening to the tapes, patients in the relaxation group reported a mean reduction in pain severity of 0.9 (p = 0.023). Patients in the positive-mood group reported a nonsignificant increase in pain severity after audiotape use. Authors noted no differences between groups after 2–3 weeks. Authors noted no intervention effects on quality of life, mood, or perceived self-efficacy. There were no differences between groups in pain interference scores from the BPI. More than one-half the patients reported using the audiotapes at least five times per week. More than one-half the patients dropped out of the study or were lost to follow-up; 25% of these withdrew prior to the first follow-up assessment, at 2–3 weeks. The most common reasons for withdrawal were ineffectiveness of intervention and disease progression.
Distraction and relaxation audiotapes appeared to produce immediate short-term decreases in pain intensity. However, authors observed no long-term effects and no overall differences between intervention groups and the control group.
The findings of this study do not support the use of the specified techniques with audiotapes and minimal direct patient contact via telephone. This study does not add to knowledge regarding full cognitive behavioral techniques, because this study did not include many aspects typical of these techniques.