Efficacy of the iDBT-Pain skills training intervention to reduce emotional dysregulation and pain intensity in people with chronic pain: protocol for a single-case experimental design with multiple baselines.
Introduction Difficulties in emotional regulation are key to the development and maintenance of chronic pain. Recent evidence shows internet-delivered dialectic behaviour therapy (iDBT) skills training can reduce emotional dysregulation and pain intensity. However, further studies are needed to provide more definitive evidence regarding the efficacy of iDBT skills training in the chronic pain population. Methods and analysis A single-case experimental design (SCED) with multiple baselines will be used to examine the efficacy of a 4-week iDBT-Pain skills training intervention (iDBT-Pain intervention) to reduce emotional dysregulation and pain intensity in individuals with chronic pain. The iDBT-Pain intervention encompasses two components: (1) iDBT-Pain skills training sessions (iDBT-Pain sessions) and (2) the iDBT-Pain skills training web application (iDBT-Pain app). Three individuals with chronic pain will be recruited and randomly allocated to different baseline phases (5, 9 or 12 days). Following the baseline phase, participants will receive six 60–90min iDBT-Pain sessions approximately 4 or 5 days apart, delivered by a psychologist via Zoom. To reinforce learnings from the iDBT-Pain sessions, participants will have unlimited use of the iDBT-Pain app. A 7-day follow-up phase (maintenance) will follow the intervention, whereby the iDBT-Pain sessions cease but the iDBT-Pain app is accessible. Emotional regulation, as the primary outcome measure, will be assessed using the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale. Pain intensity, as the secondary outcome measure, will be assessed using a visual analogue scale. Generalisation measures will assess psychological state factors (depression, anxiety and coping behaviour), alongside sleep quality, well-being and harm avoidance. SCEDs are increasingly considered effective designs for internet-delivered psychological interventions because SCED enables the investigation of interindividual variability in a heterogeneous population such as chronic pain. Ethics and dissemination This trial was approved by the University of New South Wales (HC200199). Results will be published in peer-reviewed journals.
Norman-Nott N, Wilks C, Hesam-Shariati N, et al. Efficacy of the iDBT-Pain skills training intervention to reduce emotional dysregulation and pain intensity in people with chronic pain: protocol for a single-case experimental design with multiple baselines. BMJ Open 2021;11:e041745. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2020-041745