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Review: psychological interventions reduce the severity and frequency of chronic pain in children and adolescents

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QUESTION: In children and adolescents with chronic pain and associated distress and disability, are psychological interventions effective for reducing the frequency and severity of pain?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, Medline (1966–99), PsycLIT (1987–99), EMBASE/Excerpta Medica (1980–99), and the Social Sciences Indices (1981–99). Bibliographies of relevant articles were reviewed, and experts in the field were contacted for additional studies.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing a clearly defined psychological treatment (even when this treatment was concomitant with other non-psychological treatments given as standard care) with a control condition (wait list and self monitoring) …

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  • For correspondence: Dr C Eccleston, Pain Management Unit, University of Bath, UK. c.eccleston{at}

  • A modified version of this abstract appears in Evidence-Based Medicine.

  • Source of funding: no external funding.