Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for headache pain: An evaluation of the long-term maintenance of effects.

Author: Day MA1, Thorn BE2
1School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Electronic address: m.day@uq.edu.au.
2Department of Psychology, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA.
Conference/Journal: Complement Ther Med.
Date published: 2017 Aug
Other: Volume ID: 33 , Pages: 94-98 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2017.06.009. Epub 2017 Jul 1. , Word Count: 246

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to examine the durability of gain patterns following an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for headache pain program.

DESIGN: A secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial was conducted. Participants (N=19) were individuals with headache pain who completed both the MBCT program as well as a 6-month follow-up assessment at a headache clinic or a university psychology clinic. Standardized measures of the primary outcomes (pain intensity and pain interference) and secondary outcomes (pain catastrophizing, mindfulness, activity engagement, pain willingness, and self-efficacy) were administered. Paired-samples t tests and effect sizes were examined.

RESULTS: Significant (uncorrected ps<.05) pre- to post-treatment gains were found for pain intensity, pain interference, pain catastrophizing, activity engagement and self-efficacy, and these gains were maintained at 6-months post-treatment. Effect sizes for the significant changes from pre- to post-treatment, and from pre-treatment to follow-up were mostly consistent across epochs (.62≤ds≤-1.40), indicating steady maintenance of effects. Improvement in mindfulness and pain willingness was non-significant immediately post-treatment and at follow-up, with small effects observed.

CONCLUSIONS: This study adds to a growing body of literature supporting the durability of MBCT for painful conditions. Results indicated a consistent pattern of maintenance of treatment-related gains across a number of key pain-related outcomes. Future research with a larger sample is needed to investigate the mechanisms underlying these continued gains in order to optimize targeted relapse-prevention.

Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS: Headache; Long-term efficacy; Maintenance of gains; Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy

PMID: 28735832 DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2017.06.009