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Exploring peer coaches' outcomes: Findings from a clinical trial of patients with chronic pain.

Matthias MS, Daggy J, Ofner S, McGuire AB, Kukla M, Bair MJ. Exploring peer coaches' outcomes: Findings from a clinical trial of patients with chronic pain. Patient education and counseling. 2020 Jul 1; 103(7):1366-1372.

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OBJECTIVE: Although peer coaching can help patients manage chronic conditions, few studies have evaluated the effects of peer coaching on coaches, and no studies have systematically examined these effects in the context of chronic pain coaching. METHODS: Peer coach outcomes were assessed as part of a randomized trial of peer coaching for chronic pain. In this exploratory analysis, linear mixed models were used to evaluate changes in peer coaches' pain and related outcomes from baseline to 6 and 9 months. The Šidák method was used to account for multiple comparisons. RESULTS: Peer coaches (N? = 55) experienced statistically significant increases in anxiety and pain catastrophizing from baseline to 6 months, which were no longer significant after adjustment. All other changes were not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: Despite prior studies suggesting that peer coaches benefit from serving as a coach, the current study failed to support that conclusion. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Peer coaching remains a promising model, with high potential for implementation, for a number of chronic conditions requiring self-management. However, to maximize the benefits of such interventions, it is essential to monitor both those being coached and the coaches themselves, and not to assume that serving as a coach is inherently beneficial.

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