A brief peer support intervention for veterans with chronic musculoskeletal pain: A pilot study of feasibility and effectiveness

Marianne S. Matthias, Alan B. Mcguire, Marina Kukla, Joanne Daggy, Laura J. Myers, Matthew J. Bair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study was to pilot test a peer support intervention, involving peer delivery of pain self-management strategies, for veterans with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Design: Pretest/posttest with 4-month intervention period. Methods: Ten peer coaches were each assigned 2 patients (N=20 patients). All had chronic musculoskeletal pain. Guided by a study manual, peer coach-patient pairs were instructed to talk biweekly for 4 months. Pain was the primary outcome and was assessed with the PEG, a three-item version of the Brief Pain Inventory, and the PROMIS Pain Interference Questionnaire. Several secondary outcomes were also assessed. To assess change in outcomes, a linear mixed model with a random effect for peer coaches was applied. Results: Nine peer coaches and 17 patients completed the study. All were male veterans. Patients' pain improved at 4 months compared with baseline but did not reach statistical significance (PEG: P=0.33, ICC [intra-class correlation]=0.28, Cohen's d=-0.25; PROMIS: P=0.17, d=-0.35). Of secondary outcomes, self-efficacy (P=0.16, ICC=0.56, d=0.60) and pain centrality (P=0.06, ICC=0.32, d=-0.62) showed greatest improvement, with moderate effect sizes. Conclusions: This study suggests that peers can effectively deliver pain self-management strategies to other veterans with pain. Although this was a pilot study with a relatively short intervention period, patients improved on several outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-87
Number of pages7
JournalPain Medicine (United States)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015



  • Chronic pain
  • Pain management
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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