PALS: peer support for community dwelling older people with chronic low back pain: a feasibility and acceptability study

Kay Cooper (Lead / Corresponding author), Patricia Schofield, Blair H. Smith, Susan Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
140 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: (i) Examine the feasibility and acceptability of a peer support intervention (PALS) to facilitate self-management in community dwelling older adults with Chronic Low Back Pain (CLBP), and (ii) examine the feasibility of study methods in order to inform the design of a future randomised controlled trial.

Design: Mixed methods feasibility and acceptability study.

Setting: Community.

Participants: 18 older adults (aged 65 to 79) with CLBP and 6 peer support volunteers (PSVs) aged 34 to 65.

Intervention: Six sessions of 1 to 3 hours duration, approximately 2 weeks apart, delivered in mutually convenient public places, or by telephone. Each session had a suggested topic and each participant and PSV had a PALS manual detailing aims and target outcomes for each session.

Outcome measures: Recruitment, retention, integrity, acceptability and feasibility of the PALS intervention, feasibility of study processes, appropriateness and usefulness of outcome measures.

Results: We recruited to target and retained 2/3 of participants. PALS was delivered as intended and acceptable to people with CLBP and PSVs. Most participants were satisfied with PALS and would recommend it to someone else with CLBP. Study processes worked well, but recruitment procedures need to be refined. Outcome measures were returned and were mostly complete, but further work on the most appropriate measures is required.

Conclusions: PALS was feasible to deliver and acceptable to the older people and PSVs who took part in this study. We identified amendments to PALS and the study processes that, once implemented, will allow the effectiveness of PALS to be tested in a large-scale study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-162
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiotherapy (United Kingdom)
Early online date4 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Adults
  • Chronic pain
  • Low back pain
  • Peer support
  • Self care
  • Self management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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