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Review: psychological treatments lead to clinically significant reductions in pain in children and adolescents with chronic pain

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Is the use of psychological therapies an effective management therapy for chronic pain in young people?


Pain intensity (pain diaries and pain rating scales), clinically significant reduction in pain (>50% reduction), functional interference or disability (school absence, functional disability, headache related disability, physical health related quality of life) and emotional functioning (depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, psychosocial health-related quality of life).



Systematic review and meta analysis.

Data sources

Cochrane Register of Randomised Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, PsycLIT, EMBASE, PubMed and the Social Sciences Citation Index. Two separate searches were conducted, one up to the end of 1999, and one from 1999 to August 2008.

Study selection and analysis

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of psychological treatments of chronic pain in children and adolescents (less than 19 years of age). Pain was persistent recurrent or episodic pain in any part of the body, not associated with cancer or life threatening malignant disease. Studies were included if they were published RCTs comparing a psychological treatment with primary psychotherapeutic content versus placebo, other active treatment, treatment as usual or waiting-list control. Meta analysis was …

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  • Source of funding International Association for the Study of Pain.


  • Competing interests None.

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