Fibromyalgia Self-Management: mapping the behaviour change techniques used in a practice-based programme

Jennifer Pearson*, Katie Whale, Nicola Walsh, Sandi Derham, Julie Russell, Fiona Cramp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
176 Downloads (Pure)


Fibromyalgia (FM) is a complex long‐term condition associated with pain, fatigue and concentration difficulties. There is limited robust evidence for the effectiveness of pharmacological treatments for FM, with current guidelines recommending nonpharmacological interventions. The clinically developed Fibromyalgia Self‐Management Programme (FSMP) is a nonpharmacological, multidisciplinary education group intervention. The FSMP aims to provide condition‐specific, patient‐centred education and exercise advice, supporting the development of core self‐management skills. This research aimed to map the FSMP to a recommended behaviour change taxonomy (BCT).
Non‐participatory observations of the 4‐ and 6‐week FSMP were conducted. Detailed notes on the content of the course, therapist delivery and any additional content not included in the manual were recorded. Subsequently, semistructured interviews were conducted with both therapists (n = 4) and patients (n = 9). Observation and a review of the FSMP manual data were deductively coded to the BCT. Interview data were added to the framework.
The review of the FSMP manual and observations of the course showed that the programme coded onto 12 of the 16 BCT domains, encompassing 22 behaviour change techniques. Both patient and therapist interviews indicated that patients made positive changes, including increased activity levels, pacing, better quality sleep and improved communication with family members. Patients reported improvements to symptoms as a result of attending the course.
The FSMP utilises a range of behaviour change techniques. Patients who attend the course feel supported to make changes to their behaviour, enabling them to manage their symptoms more effectively.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalMusculoskeletal Care
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2020


  • chronic pain
  • qualitative research
  • self‐management


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