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How Do Patients with Chronic Pain Benefit from a Peer-Supported Pain Self-Management Intervention? A Qualitative Investigation.

Matthias MS, Kukla M, McGuire AB, Bair MJ. How Do Patients with Chronic Pain Benefit from a Peer-Supported Pain Self-Management Intervention? A Qualitative Investigation. Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.). 2016 Dec 1; 17(12):2247-2255.

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OBJECTIVE: Peer support is a novel and under-studied approach to the management of chronic pain. This study's purpose was to uncover the elements of a peer-supported self-management intervention that are perceived by participants as essential to achieving positive changes. DESIGN: Qualitative, semi-structured interviews. METHODS: Veterans and veteran peer coaches who participated in a pilot study of peer support Improving Pain using Peer-Reinforced Self-Management Strategies (IMPPRESS, NCT01748227) took part in qualitative semi-structured interviews after completing the 4-month intervention. Questions were designed to facilitate understanding of how participants experienced the intervention. An immersion/crystallization approach was used to analyze data. RESULTS: All 26 peer coaches and patients who completed the intervention were interviewed. Qualitative analysis revealed three elements of IMPPRESS that peer coaches and patients believed conferred benefit: 1) making interpersonal connections; 2) providing/receiving encouragement and support; and 3) facilitating the use of pain self-management strategies. CONCLUSIONS: Peer support represents a promising approach to chronic pain management that merits further study. The current study helps to identify intervention elements perceived by participants to be important in achieving positive results. Understanding how peer support may benefit patients is essential to optimize the effectiveness of peer support interventions and increase the implementation potential of peer-supported pain self-management into clinical practice.

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