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Acceptance and commitment therapy for chronic pain: protocol of a systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Jiaxi Lin, Whitney Scott, Lewis Jamie Carpenter, Sam Norton, Matthias Domhardt, Harald Baumesiter, Lance M. McCracken

Original languageEnglish
Article number140
JournalSystematic Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2019


King's Authors


Background Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) can be effective in treating chronic pain. Despite evidence supporting the effectiveness of ACT, uncertainties remain regarding which subgroups in the chronic pain population are likely to benefit most and least. This protocol describes the application for two meta-analytic approaches, one at the level of individual participant data and the other at the level of aggregated data, from randomized controlled trials of ACT for chronic pain (ACT-CP-MA). Methods We will systematically conduct literature searches in CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and trial registers. Two reviewers will independently select studies for inclusion and data extraction. ACT-CP-MA will include randomized controlled trials with ACT for chronic pain compared to control conditions for adults (≥ 18 years) with chronic pain (> 3 months). We will invite the authors of all eligible trials to share individual participant data. Outcomes will include standardized measures of pain interference, pain intensity, depression, anxiety, health-related quality of life, participants’ rating of overall improvement, and ACT-related process variables. Using the Cochrane Collaboration’s tool and GRADE, reviewers will independently check for risk of bias, quality of evidence, and strength of recommendations. In the individual participant data meta-analysis, we will use a one-step approach where participants are clustered with studies and data from all studies are modeled simultaneously. For analyses, we will use mixed-effects models. Additionally, we will employ a meta-analysis with aggregate data and compare the results of both meta-analyses. Discussion This collaborative meta-analysis of individual participant data from randomized controlled trials of ACT for chronic pain versus control conditions will demonstrate how the known benefits of ACT for chronic pain vary across different subtypes of the chronic pain population. The results of the meta-analyses will be based on a comprehensive search of multiple databases and will help to inform future clinical trials and decision-making on the use of ACT in chronic pain and improve the quality, design, and reporting of future trials in this field.

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