Sixty-five studies that evaluated the efficacy of multidisciplinary treatments for chronic back pain were included in a meta-analysis. Within- and between-group effect sizes revealed that multidisciplinary treatments for chronic pain are superior to no treatment, waiting list, as well as single-discipline treatments such as medical treatment or physical therapy. Moreover, the effects appeared to be stable over time. The beneficial effects of multidisciplinary treatment were not limited to improvements in pain, mood and interference but also extended to behavioral variables such as return to work or use of the health care system. These results tend to support the efficacy of multidisciplinary pain treatment; however, these results must be interpreted cautiously as the quality of the study designs and study descriptions is marginal. Suggestions for improvement in research designs as well as appropriate reports of research completed are provided.
aDepartment of Clinical and Physiological Psychology, University of Tübingen, TübingenGermany
bFachbereich Psychologie, University of Marburg, MarburgGermany
cDepartment of Psychology, University of Heidelberg, HeidelbergGermany
dPain Evaluation and Treatment Institute, Departments of Psychiatry and Anesthesiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
∗Correspondense to: Dr. Herta Flor, Department of Clinical and Physiological Psychology, University of Tübingen, Gartenstrasse 29, W-7400 Tübingen, Germany.
(Received 2 April 1991; revised 9 July 1991; accepted 12 September 1991.)
This research was supported by Grants No. Fl 156/1 and Fl 156/2 by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to the first author.