NUI Galway Online Study Seeks Participants with Multiple Chronic Health Conditions

Jan 21 2019 Posted: 14:17 GMT

A study by the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway is seeking participants to trial a new online programme offering psychological support for people with chronic pain and at least one other chronic condition.

Chronic pain is a common condition in Ireland, and has been associated with an increased risk of depression, decreased ability to work, and increased costs to the person directly and to the state. A growing number of people have the additional burden of multiple chronic conditions, known as multimorbidity. Access to psychological support can be a particular difficulty for people with multimorbidity and can add strain due to the cost and time involved. Additionally, standard supports are generally aimed at the self-management of single specific chronic conditions, and don’t take into account the impact of having multiple conditions with various competing symptoms and treatments to manage.  

With this in mind, researchers in the Centre for Pain Research are developing and trialling an online psychological programme for people with multiple chronic conditions. The ACTION for Multimorbidity study is recruiting adults in Ireland with chronic pain (pain that has persisted for three months or longer) and at least one other chronic condition to trial the programme. The ACTION programme provides eight online sessions, tailored for those wishing to learn effective ways of managing their health conditions.

Participants will be provided with instructions on a range of activity-pacing techniques to encourage consistent levels of activity from day to day. In addition, mindfulness techniques and cognitive behavioural therapy will help the identification of negative thinking patterns and the development of effective challenges.

In researching online programmes such as these, the Centre for Pain Research hopes to enable increased access to effective treatments for chronic conditions.

Professor Brian McGuire, principal investigator on the study at NUI Galway, explains: “We know that psychological therapies provided to people with chronic conditions are beneficial, but often hard to access. In this trial, we will offer an online programme to people all over the country, with any combination of conditions and chronic pain, to try alongside any existing treatments they are already using.” 

The entire study is carried out online, and participants will not need to travel to NUI Galway at any stage. Participants will be asked to complete three questionnaires about their health over a five-month period, and after the first questionnaire will be randomly assigned to receive either immediate or delayed access to the online programme. All materials can be accessed on PCs and mobile devices, and contact with the research team will be primarily through email, with occasional phone calls. Participants can continue their usual treatments while involved in the trial. 

To participate, please email the researchers at The current phase of recruitment will close in March, with participants usually starting the study within days of first making contact.

Details of this study, and other work by the Centre for Pain Research, are available at:

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