Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Brian Lewis

Second Committee Member

Blaine Fowers

Third Committee Member

Kent Burnett

Fourth Committee Member

Carol Davis


Psychosocial variables such as attachment style, depression and the working alliance were examined as predictors of treatment outcomes in the context of chronic pain patients receiving physical therapy. Four treatment outcomes were examined: change in pain severity, change in pain interference, patient satisfaction with physical therapy services and patient compliance with treatment recommendations. A model of the interplay between depression and chronic illness presented by Katon (2003) was used as a framework for the current model. Two main hypotheses were suggested. (1) The working alliance is positively related to treatment outcomes. (2) Depression is negatively associated with treatment outcomes. Data were gathered at three outpatient rehabilitation clinics and the physical therapy unit of a multidisciplinary pain clinic in two Midwestern cities. A total of 59 subjects participated and regression analyses found evidence supporting both main hypotheses. The working alliance was found to be positively correlated to the change in pain severity, the change in pain interference, patient satisfaction and patient compliance. Depression was found to be negatively correlated to the change in pain interference, patient satisfaction and patient compliance. Implications for physical therapists working with chronic pain patients include clinical recommendations for developing a good working alliance and screening for depression.


Physical Therapy; Depression; Attachment; Outcomes; Working Alliance; Chronic Pain