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J Psychosom Res. 1991;35(2-3):345-54.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy in patients with ankylosing spondylitis in a German self-help organization.

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Institute for Medical Psychology, University of Marburg, Germany.


A cognitive-behavioral treatment program for pain control was administered to 22 subjects with a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in a self-help setting of the German Rheumatism League. A sample of 17 AS subjects from the same setting served as waiting-list controls. The program consisted of training in progressive muscle relaxation, cognitive restructuring, attention related techniques and pleasant activity scheduling, and was aimed at an improvement of self-control strategies. Ratings of pain severity, anxiety, depression, psychophysiological complaints, and sleep disturbances were used to evaluate the outcome. Follow-up assessments were conducted six months post treatment. A significant interaction between treatment condition and assessment period was demonstrated. Further analyses indicate a beneficial effect of the treatment in all outcome measures apart from general symptoms during pain attacks at the follow-up assessment. Reductions of pain intensity, anxiety, and psychophysiological symptoms were maintained at 12 month follow-up. Although pain reduction was statistically significant, it did not exceed 14% in the pain diary. The more important aspect of the treatment appears to be emotional stabilization and increased feelings of well-being.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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