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Brief cognitive-behavioral treatment for TMD pain: Long-term outcomes and moderators of treatment

Litt, Mark D.a,*; Shafer, David M.b; Kreutzer, Donald L.c

doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2010.06.030

The purpose of this study was to determine whether a brief (6–8 sessions) cognitive-behavioral treatment for temporomandibular dysfunction-related pain could be efficacious in reducing pain, pain-related interference with lifestyle and depressive symptoms. The patients were 101 men and women with pain in the area of the temporomandibular joint of at least 3 months duration, randomly assigned to either standard treatment (STD; n = 49) or standard treatment + cognitive-behavioral skills training (STD + CBT; n = 52). Patients were assessed at posttreatment (6 weeks), 12 weeks, 24 weeks, 36 weeks, and 52 weeks. Linear mixed model analyses of reported pain indicated that both treatments yielded significant decreases in pain, with the STD + CBT condition resulting in steeper decreases in pain over time compared to the STD condition. Somatization, self-efficacy and readiness for treatment emerged as significant moderators of outcome, such that those low in somatization, or higher in self-efficacy or readiness, and treated with STD + CBT reported of lower pain over time. Somatization was also a significant moderator of treatment effects on pain-related interference with functioning, with those low on somatization reporting of less pain interference over time when treated in the STD + CBT condition. It was concluded that brief treatments can yield significant reductions in pain, life interference and depressive symptoms in TMD sufferers, and that the addition of cognitive-behavioral coping skills will add to efficacy, especially for those low in somatization, or high in readiness or self-efficacy.

aDivision of Behavioral Sciences and Community Health, University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, CT, USA

bDepartment of Craniofacial Sciences, University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, CT, USA

cDepartment of Surgery, University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, CT, USA

*Corresponding author. Address: Division of Behavioral Sciences and Community Health – MC3910, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030, USA. Tel.: +1 860 679 4680; fax: +1 860 679 1342.


Submitted October 19, 2009; revised March 25, 2010; accepted June 24, 2010.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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