Collaborative care for pain results in both symptom improvement and sustained reduction of pain and depression

Stephen Thielke, Kathryn Corson, Steven K. Dobscha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: Traditional analytic approaches may oversimplify the mechanisms by which interventions effect change. Transition probability models can quantify both symptom improvement and sustained reduction in symptoms. We sought to quantify transition probabilities between higher and lower states for four outcome variables and to compare two treatment arms with respect to these transitions. Method: Secondary analysis of a year-long collaborative care intervention for chronic musculoskeletal pain in veterans. Forty-two clinicians were randomized to intervention or treatment as usual (TAU), with 401 patients nested within clinician. The outcome variables, pain intensity, pain interference, depression and disability scores were dichotomized (lower/higher). Probabilities of symptom improvement (transitioning from higher to lower) or sustained reduction (remaining lower) were compared between intervention and TAU groups at 0- to 3-, 3- to 6- and 6- to 12-month intervals. General estimating equations quantified the effect of the intervention on transitions. Results: In adjusted models, the intervention group showed about 1.5 times greater odds of both symptom improvement and sustained reduction compared to TAU, for all the outcomes except disability. Conclusions: Despite no formal relapse prevention program, intervention patients were more likely than TAU patients to experience continued relief from depression and pain. Collaborative care interventions may provide benefits beyond just symptom reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-143
Number of pages5
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Collaborative
  • Pain
  • Relapse
  • Remission
  • Transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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