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Research group

Chronic Pain


Chronic pain conditions are among the most prevalent, disabling, and costly conditions in all of health care. These include conditions such as osteoarthritis, low back pain, fibromyalgia, other generalized musculoskeletal pain, and neuropathic pain conditions. Psychological treatment approaches have a long history of success in address these conditions and can in particular reduce the distress, disability, and healthcare costs encountered. Even so there are opportunities for this treatment to achieve larger effects for more people and over a longer duration. This is where research is needed to help develop and test new therapeutic processes, new treatment methods, and new modes of delivery. Some of the current developments in treatment today include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), mindfulness-based treatments, and others. One particular model that guides the chronic pain research in the Health Psychology Section at King’s is what is called the psychological flexibility model. This model includes processes such as acceptance, cognitive defusion, flexibility present-focused attention, values, self-as-perspective, and committed action.


  • Application of a brief group-based version of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for chronic pain in primary care
  • Training to increase psychological flexibility for parents of children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Process of cognitive defusion and outcome of chronic pain treatment in specialty care
  • Development of a measure of committed action in chronic pain
  • Development of a measure of self-as-context in chronic pain


McCracken. L. M., & Gutiérrez-Martínez, O. (2011). Processes of change in psychological flexibility in an interdisciplinary group-based treatment for chronic pain based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 49, 267-274.

McCracken, L. M., & Gauntlett-Gilbert, J. (2011). The role of psychological flexibility in parents of adolescents with chronic pain: Development of a measure and preliminary correlation analyses. Pain, 152, 780-785.

McCracken, L. M., Williams, J. L., & Tang, N. K. Y. (2011). Psychological flexibility may reduce insomnia in persons with chronic pain: A preliminary retrospective study. Pain Medicine, 12, 904-912.

Vowles, K. E., McCracken, L. M., & Zhao-O’Brien, J. (2011). Acceptance and values-based action in chronic pain: A three-year follow-up analysis of treatment effectiveness and process. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 49, 748-755.

McCracken, L. M., & Jones, R. (2012). Treatment for chronic pain for adults in the seventh and eighth decades of life: A preliminary study of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Pain Medicine, 13, 861-867.

Cho, S., McCracken, L. M., Heiby, E. M., Moon, D., & Lee, J. (2012). Pain acceptance-based coping in complex regional pain syndrome type I: Daily relations with pain intensity, activity and mood. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, DOI 10.1007/s10865-012-9449-7.

Gauntlett-Gilbert J, Connell H, Clinch J, & McCracken L. (2013). Acceptance and values-based treatment of adolescents with chronic pain: outcomes and their relationship to acceptance. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 38, 72-81.


Contextual Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for the self-management of chronic pain in the community: A feasibility study. McCracken, L. M., Eccleston, C., Wainright, D., Taylor, G., & House, W. National Institute for Health Research, Research for Patient Benefit Programme (£180,620), 2010-2012.

Testing the credibility, feasibility, and acceptability of an optimised behavioural intervention for avoidant chronic low back pain patients (pilot study). Pincus, T., McCracken, L., Farrin, A., Graham, L., McBeth, J., McGregor, A., Morley, S., Rounds, J., & Watson, P. Arthritis Research UK (£334,921), 2010-2013.

Development and preliminary evaluation of a self-management programme for different types of pain in MS. Moss-Morris, R., Bogosian, A., Harrison, A., & McCracken, L. M. Multiple Sclerosis Society (£77,942), 2012-2015.

Feasibility study for an RCT to evaluate a behavioural intervention for parents early in the diagnosis of juvenile idiopathic arthritis: SPACe – Supporting Parents and A Child with arthritis. Fletcher, M., Clinch, J., McCracken, L. M., Gooberman-Hill, R., Hewlett, S., Beresford, M. W., Blair, P., Marques, E., Venter, K. National Institute for Health Research - Research for Patient Benefit (£239,347) 2012-2015.


Lance M McCracken

Professor of Behavioural Medicine

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