Effects of a stress-reduction program on psychological function, pain, and physical function of systemic lupus erythematosus patients: A randomized controlled trial




To assess the effects of a stress-reduction program on pain, psychological function, and physical function in persons with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who experience pain.


Ninety-two SLE patients were assigned randomly to receive either biofeedback-assisted cognitive-behavioral treatment (BF/CBT), a symptom-monitoring support (SMS) intervention, or usual medical care (UC) alone.


BF/CBT participants had significantly greater reductions in pain and psychological dysfunction compared with the SMS group (pain, P = 0.044; psychological functioning, P < 0.001) and the UC group (pain, P = 0.028; psychological functioning, P < 0.001). BF/CBT had significantly greater improvement in perceived physical function compared with UC (P = 0.035), and improvement relative to SMS was marginally significant (P = 0.097). At a 9-month followup evaluation, BF/CBT continued to exhibit relative benefit compared with UC in psychological functioning (P = 0.023).


This study supports the utility of a brief stress management program for short-term improvement in pain, psychological function, and perceived physical function among persons with SLE who experience pain.