Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Mary Peterson


Chronic pain has significant, multifaceted effects on both the health care system and the individual. The total cost of pain to the U.S. healthcare system is estimated to be over $600 billion annually (Skinner, Wilson, & Turk, 2012). People with chronic pain may frequent multiple providers, often dominating the time and resources of healthcare professionals (Skinner et al., 2012). The approximately 100 million people with chronic pain miss work, experience financial distress, and strained relationships, which leads to comorbid psychological diagnoses (Birnie, McGrath, & Chambers, 2012). Pain treatment strategies have largely followed a biomedical framework, seeking to identify the source of pain and eliminate it; or failing that, using opioids as a primary treatment of chronic pain (Turk, Swanson, & Tunks, 2008). Opioids decline in impact over time and are known to have detrimental side effects (Birnie et al., 2012). Medical treatments alone are insufficient to treat chronic pain and its comorbid psychological distress. Previous research suggests that a multidisciplinary approach focused on regaining functioning and reducing disability is effective (Turk et al., 2008). This study extends current research by exploring the relationship between multidisciplinary treatment in an inpatient setting, combined with opioid reduction, on the experience of pain and symptoms of depression and anxiety. Results showed patients experienced a reduction in pain intensity and psychiatric symptoms, and an increase in quality of life, even with a significant reduction of opioid medication.