OBJECTIVE: This study examined the impact of a brief pain communication/education intervention on patient outcomes in breast cancer. We hypothesized that our intervention would improve patient communication and reduce misconceptions ('Barriers') concerning pain management, and that patients with lower Barriers, or who perceived their physician as being more facilitative and receptive, would report better outcomes. METHODS: Female breast cancer patients with persistent pain (n=89) were randomly assigned to either a 30-min in-person pain education/communication intervention or control condition and followed for 12 weeks. RESULTS: Intervention group patients reported a significant decrease in pain Barriers but not in other outcomes. Overall, patients with lower barrier scores reported less distress and better emotional well-being. Patients who scored higher in active communication (e.g., asking questions, giving information) reported fewer Barriers and better pain relief. Individuals who perceived their physicians as being more receptive reported better pain management while those who perceived their physicians as being both more receptive and facilitative were more satisfied with their health care. CONCLUSION: A brief education/communication intervention reduced patients' Barriers to pain management but did not impact other patient outcomes. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: Pain outcomes may be improved by addressing patients' pain misconceptions and emphasizing a receptive and responsive communication style.
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