Differential responses by psychosocial subgroups of fibromyalgia (FM) syndrome patients to an interdisciplinary treatment

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate differential treatment responses among

3 empirically derived, psychosocial subgroups of patients with

fibromyalgia syndrome to a standard interdisciplinary

treatment program.

METHOD: Patients were classified into 1 of

3 psychosocial groups on the basis of their responses to the

Multidimensional Pain Inventory. Forty-eight patients

completed a 6 one-half-day outpatient treatment program

consisting of medical, physical, occupational, and

psychological therapies spaced over a period of 4 weeks (3

sessions the first week followed by 1 session per week for the

next 3 consecutive weeks).

RESULTS: Statistically significant

reductions were observed in pain, affective distress,

perceived disability, and perceived inteference of pain in the

patients characterized by poor coping and high level of pain

(“dysfunctional” group). In contrast, individuals who were

characterized by interpersonal difficulties (“interpersonally

distressed” group) exhibited poor responses to the treatment.

“Adaptive copers,” the third group, revealed significant

improvements in pain but due to low pretreatment levels of

affective distress and disability showed little improvement on

these outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: The results provided support for

the hypothesis that customizing treatment based on patients’

psychosocial needs will lead to enhanced treatment efficacy.

They also emphasize the importance of using appropriate

outcome criteria, as low levels of problems at baseline are

not likely to show significant changes following any


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