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Confidence of practitioners to support self-management of pain: A multidisciplinary survey

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Chris PenlingtonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Background Supported self-management is an important component of management for persistent pain according to current recommendations and guidelines. However, it is unclear whether staff from differing disciplines who may be in early contact with people with established or developing persistent pain are confident to introduce and support self-management for this patient group. Aim To determine the confidence of staff across professional disciplines to introduce and support self-management.Design and SettingCross-sectional online survey. Methods Charts were constructed to represent information on professional grouping, prior training in self-management and confidence in supporting key components of self-management for persistent pain. Analysis of variance was used to test for differences between groups. Results Overall, 165 practitioners reported confidence to support self-management below the midpoint of a ten-point scale and 93 above. There were few differences between different professions apart from in explaining pain (f = 6.879 p < .001), managing activity levels (f = 6.340 p < .001) and supporting healthy habits (f = 4.700, p = .001) in which physiotherapists expressed higher confidence than other professional groups. There was no difference in confidence expressed between staff who had or had not received previous training in self-management (f = 1.357, p = .233). Conclusions Many front-line staff who might be expected to introduce and deliver self-management support for persistent pain lack the confidence and skills to do so. This is consistent with a known lack of education about pain across disciplinary boundaries in primary and community-based care. In order to meet treatment priorities for persistent pain there is an urgent need to upskill the workforce by providing access to good quality training and resources.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Penlington C, Pornsukjantra P, Chazot P, Cole F, Denneny D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Pain

Year: 2024

Pages: epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 04/11/2023

Acceptance date: 23/10/2023

Date deposited: 14/01/2024

ISSN (print): 2049-4637

ISSN (electronic): 2049-4645

Publisher: Sage


DOI: 10.1177/20494637231212748

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/esnf-a580


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Funder referenceFunder name
Health Education England Long term Conditions and Innovation Fund