Let’s talk about pain catastrophizing measures: an item content analysis

Review written by Dr Bronwyn Thompson info

Key Points

  • Pain catastrophizing is a strong predictor of poor outcomes, but measurement instruments may not measure this construct.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Pain catastrophizing is a key psychosocial predictor of pain, distress, and disability. The specific aims of this study were to establish to what extent items from pain catastrophizing measures were relevant to pain catastrophizing (i.e. content validity), distinct from related constructs such as pain vigilance, pain worrying; and from primary outcomes such as pain severity, pain-related distress and pain-related disability.

This kind of study is important because we may assume a construct means one thing, but the measures used to investigate that construct may be measuring something quite different.

Pain catastrophizing is a key psychosocial predictor of pain, distress, and disability.
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The challenge is that none of our existing measures uniquely measure pain catastrophizing – and all the instruments were equally thought to measure ‘worrying about pain’.

METHODS

The researchers used an online recruitment platform to find participants from the general population who were over 18, spoke English as their first language, and could access the internet.

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