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A multi-facet pain survey of psychosocial complaints among patients with long-standing non-malignant pain

Journal article
Authors Leif Peterson
Jesper Lundgren
Sven G. Carlsson
Published in Scandinavian Journal of Pain
Volume 17
Pages 68-76
ISSN 1877-8860
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 68-76
Language en
Keywords Assessment, Chronic pain, Interviews, Patient experiences, Qualitative method
Subject categories Applied Psychology


© 2017 Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain Background and aims Psychometric inventories and scales intended to measure cognitive, emotional and behavioural concomitants of pain are typically constructed by deducting items from theoretically derived concepts related to pain states, e.g. social support, perceived control, depressiveness, and catastrophizing. The aim of this study was to design a clinically useful, generic pain distress inventory – The Multi-Facet Pain Survey (MFPS) – inductively derived from psychological and social complaints reported by a study group of individuals with severe chronic nonmalignant pain. Methods Extensive clinical interviews with hospitalized chronic pain patients were made by clinical psychologists. The purpose was to highlight the patients’ pain histories and their beliefs and feelings about the pain, and to determine factors possibly influencing their rehabilitation potential. The types of distress reported were sorted into categories with a procedure similar to content analysis. Distress reports were converted to statements, forming items in a questionnaire, the Multi-Facet Pain Survey. Results Our analyses supported a distress structure including 15 categories, or “facets”, comprising in all 190 types of psychosocial distress. Ten of the facets denote beliefs about the present condition and aspects of distress experienced in daily life (e.g. cognitive problems); three facets reflect the illness history, and two the patient's views on future prospects. To improve the clinical utility, we shortened the scale into a 53 items inventory. A factor analysis of these 53 items revealed four clinically meaningful factors: (1) stress-related exhaustion; (2) impact of pain on daily life; (3) self-inefficacy in regard to future prospects; and (4) negative experiences of health care. While the second factor represents distress directly related to the pain, the first factor reflects long-term exhaustion effects of the pain condition similar to those seen in individuals exposed to long periods of stress. Items loading in the third factor reflect a pessimistic outlook on the future. The content validity of the scale was explored by predicting and testing correlations between the 15 MFPS facets, and the Symptom Checklist (SCL-90) and the West Haven Yale Multidimensional Pain Inventory (MPI). Some of the MFPS facets showed little or no agreement with any of the subscales of the comparison measures. The homogeneity was satisfactory both for facets and factors. Conclusions The Multi-Facet Pain Survey (MFPS) facets cover a broad array of experienced psychosocial distress in patients with severe, longstanding pain. Some facets of psychosocial impact of longstanding pain states shown in the qualitatively derived distress facets, or by the latent factors found in the factor analysis, may complement our understanding of the long-term impact of pain. Consequently, MFPS may improve the assessment of psychological and social complaints and complications in patients with chronic pain. Implications The MFPS will hopefully be an assessment tool supporting the psychological contribution to a biopsychosocial evaluation of patients with severe, longstanding pain. By exposing a broad range of suffering, MFPS may contribute to alternative treatment options and a better prognosis of future rehabilitation.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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