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Cogn Behav Ther. 2011;40(4):279-90. doi: 10.1080/16506073.2011.616218.

Attention modification in persons with fibromyalgia: a double blind, randomized clinical trial.

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Department of Psychology, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.


Contemporary models of chronic musculoskeletal pain emphasize the critical roles of fear, anxiety, and avoidance as well as biases in attention in the development and maintenance of chronic pain disability. Evidence supports the influence of individual difference variables such as anxiety sensitivity, pain-related anxiety, and catastrophizing on the pain experience and on pain-related attentional biases. Changes in attentional biases have been associated with treatment gains in patients with clinically significant anxiety. The Attentional Modification Paradigm (AMP) is a modification of the dot-probe paradigm used to facilitate such changes in attentional biases. Given the relationship between chronic musculoskeletal pain and anxiety, AMP may be effective in reducing pain as well. Participants included persons (n = 17) with fibromyalgia and were randomly assigned to either an AMP condition or a control condition. The participants completed two 15-minute AMP sessions per week for 4 weeks. Those in the AMP condition reported statistically significant and substantial reductions on several individual difference variables relative to those in the control condition, and a greater proportion experienced clinically significant reductions in pain. These preliminary results offer a promising new avenue for treating chronic musculoskeletal pain that warrants additional research. Comprehensive results, limitations, and future directions are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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