Lindsay Friesen

A randomized controlled trial of Internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy for individuals with fibromyalgia

Doctoral Dissertation Results, Lindsay Friesen 2015

The focus of this study was to assess the efficacy of Internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) for individuals with fibromyalgia (FM) who experience difficulties with pain, depression and or anxiety.  The Pain Course for Fibromyalgia was offered to Canadians from January 2014 to January 2015.  In this study, we were interested in the impact of the Pain Course for Fibromyalgia on FM symptoms, pain, depression and/or anxiety, and improving overall quality of life after the course.

The Pain Course for Fibromyalgia included topics of symptom identification, examining and challenging unhelpful thoughts, controlled breathing, pleasant activity scheduling, pacing, graded exposure, and relapse prevention. The course was administered to a randomized group of 30 individuals with FM and compared to a group of 30 individuals with FM who received standard care alone.

The findings were very encouraging.  The results of this study showed that symptoms of FM, anxiety, and depression improved significantly from pre to post treatment.  Participants also rated the course as highly acceptable and identified several course strengths.

Results from this study indicate to health professionals that ICBT is a viable avenue to improve the clinical management and the health status of individuals with FM.