A Unified, Transdiagnostic Treatment for Adolescents With Chronic Pain and Comorbid Anxiety and Depression

Laura B. Allen, Jennie C.I. Tsao, Laura C. Seidman, Jill Ehrenreich-May, Lonnie K. Zeltzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Chronic pain disorders represent a significant public health concern, particularly for children and adolescents. High rates of comorbid anxiety and unipolar mood disorders often complicate psychological interventions for chronic pain. Unified treatment approaches, based on emotion regulation skills, are applicable to a broad range of emotional disorders and suggest the possibility of extending these interventions to chronic pain and pain-related dysfunction. This case report describes the use of a unified protocol for treatment of an adolescent boy with chronic daily headache and social anxiety and an adolescent girl with whole body pain and depression. Following weekly, 50-minute individual treatment sessions, the boy demonstrated notable improvement in emotional symptoms, emotion regulation skills, somatization, and functional disability. The girl showed some improvement on measures of anxiety and depression, although there appeared to be a worsening of pain symptoms and somatization. However, both patients demonstrated improvement over follow-up. This case study illustrates the potential utility of a unified treatment approach targeting pain and emotional symptoms from an emotion regulation perspective in an adolescent population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-67
Number of pages12
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Adolescents
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Unified treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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