Evaluation of a psychological treatment package for treating pain in juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

John V. Lavigne*, Caroline K. Ross, Sharon L. Berry, Jennifer R. Hayford, Lauren M. Pachman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We examined the utility of psychological treatment procedures for children with high levels of pain associated with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). By the use of a multiple baseline across subjects design, four children were assigned to an immediate treatment group, and four children to a delayed treatment group. The six‐session treatment included relaxation training, electromyogram, and thermal biofeedback for the child; mothers were trained in the use of behavioral techniques for managing physical therapy and school attendance. Visual inspection of the data indicates small changes on children's self‐reported pain diary scores for mean pain and ratings of high (greater than 5 on a 10‐point visual analogue scale) pain periods, with 50% to 62% showing at least a 25% reduction in pain immediately after treatment, and 62% to 88% showing a 25% reduction by 6‐month follow‐up. Maternal reports of changes paralleled those of the children. Comparisons of Mann‐Whitney U‐tests conducted pre‐ and posttreatment indicated no differences for children's ratings of mean pain or + 5 pain ratings between the immediate and delayed treatment groups; greater improvement for the immediate treatment group was noted on maternal reports of both mean pain (p < 0.05) and +5 pain (p < 0.5) ratings. The reduction of pain reports from pretreatment to follow‐up was significant for children's mean pain (p = 0.02), +5 pain ratings (p = 0.02), and mother's reports of mean pain (p = 0.03) and +5 pain periods (p = 0.01). Maternal reports of the number of pain‐related behaviors that the child exhibited also declined (p < 0.05). No reduction in physical therapist's ratings of pain during evaluation were noted. No increases in maternal reports of child's psychological adjustment problems were reported following treatment. Results provide modest support for the use of psychological interventions with patients with JRA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-110
Number of pages10
JournalArthritis & Rheumatism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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