A model of dance/movement therapy for resilience-building in people living with chronic pain

Minjung Shim, R. Burke Johnson, Susan Gasson, Sherry Goodill, Richard Jermyn, Joke Bradt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Information Accumulating evidence supports the use of mind-body therapies and psychological treatments for chronic pain management. This study aimed to build a model of Dance/Movement Therapy for resilience-building in people with chronic pain. Methods A mixed methods study was conducted to test and refine a preliminary model towards building a composite model of DMT for pain resilience. Twenty-two people with chronic pain participated in a 10-week group DMT intervention. Quantitative assessments of resilience, kinesiophobia, body awareness, pain, mood, stress, and relaxation were conducted. Qualitative data were collected and analyzed according to grounded theory method and compared with the quantitative findings. Results DMT resulted in statistically significant improvements in resilience (p < 0.001), kinesiophobia (p = 0.03), body awareness (p = 0.02), and pain intensity (p = 0.03) over time. Sixty eight percent of people felt ‘moderately to a great deal better’ post intervention. We found significant within-session changes in mood, stress, relaxation, and pain (p < 0.001). Key mechanisms (activating self-agency, connecting to self, connecting to others, enhancing emotional intelligence, and reframing), intervening factors and contextual conditions were identified. Based on the findings, the preliminary model was revised and refined to construct a final model. Conclusions Group DMT is a promising treatment for chronic pain through dynamic mind-body pathways. The quantitative findings should be interpreted with caution due to the small sample size and the lack of control group. More substantive and methodological work is required such as utilization of a large scale randomized controlled trial and mediation analysis is needed to further refine the model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-40
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Integrative Medicine
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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