Chronic pain is common and frequently interferes with people’s regular functioning and reduces quality of life. Though pharmacological approaches are used most frequently to treat pain-related issues, the side effects of these medications often lead to other problems. Group therapy has been used and studied for decades in treating pain though it’s general efficacy for addressing pain is not clear. Objectives: to determine group therapy’s efficacy for patients with pain-related issues and whether the effects are moderated by study, patient, leader, or group characteristics. Method: potential articles were selected from searches completed in major databases based on a set of inclusion criteria. A random effects meta-analysis was conducted, and potential moderators were analyzed. Results: we analyzed 57 studies representing 8,933 patients receiving group therapy for pain which produced a significant, small effect (g = 0.28) for reducing pain intensity. Various secondary outcomes such as pain frequency, interference with activities of daily living, physical functioning, catastrophizing, self-efficacy, anxiety, depression, and quality of life were also found to improve significantly. Four significant moderating variables were found to include pain measure used, gender composition, number of sessions, and presence of pain diagnosis. Discussion: results are discussed and compared to those of past meta-analyses regarding both chronic pain and group therapy. Implications for practice and research are provided.

College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology



Date Submitted


Document Type





chronic pain, fibromyalgia, group psychotherapy, meta-analysis



Included in

Psychology Commons