The development of a novel questionnaire assessing alterations in central pain processing in people with and without chronic pain

Philip D. Austin 1 , Ali Asghari 2 , 3 , Daniel S.J. Costa 2 , 4  and Philip J. Siddall 2 , 5
  • 1 Department of Pain Management, HammondCare, Greenwich Hospital, 97-115 River Road, Sydney, NSW 2065, Australia
  • 2 Sydney Medical School-Northern, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • 3 School of Psychology, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran
  • 4 Pain Management Research Institute, Royal North Shore Hospital, St. Leonards, Australia
  • 5 Department of Pain Management, HammondCare, Greenwich Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Philip D. Austin
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Pain Management, HammondCare, Greenwich Hospital, 97-115 River Road, Sydney, NSW 2065, Australia
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, Ali Asghari
  • Sydney Medical School-Northern, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • School of Psychology, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran
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, Daniel S.J. Costa
  • Sydney Medical School-Northern, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • Pain Management Research Institute, Royal North Shore Hospital, St. Leonards, Australia
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and Philip J. Siddall
  • Sydney Medical School-Northern, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • Department of Pain Management, HammondCare, Greenwich Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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Abstract

Background and aims

The purpose of this study was to (a) develop and (b) conduct exploratory factor analysis on a novel self-report instrument for symptoms associated with altered central pain processing.

Methods

We first developed a 25-item questionnaire based on previous literature identifying symptoms and behaviours that may reflect altered spinal and supraspinal pain processing. We then administered this questionnaire to 183 people with chronic pain (n = 99) and healthy individuals (n = 84). Exploratory factor analysis was conducted to identify the factor structure of the questionnaire.

Results

Our results support a two-factor solution for the 25-item questionnaire that accounted for 57.2% of the total variance of responses in people with and without chronic pain. Factor one (11 items) included items related to alterations in sensation of pain, while factor two (seven items) included items associated with emotional and fatigue symptoms. Seven items showed weak factor loadings and were eliminated. Reliability was excellent, while both factors showed strong correlations with previously-validated self-report Instruments: (pain catastrophising, mood, vigilance, pain self-efficacy) and conditioned pain modulation, providing evidence for their validity.

Conclusions

We have developed a questionnaire containing two factors that appear to be related to two different symptom clusters, one of which is specifically related to pain and one of which contains other health-related symptoms related to mood and fatigue. These factors show excellent internal consistency and validity. This questionnaire may be a quick, easy and reliable instrument to assess central pain processing in clinical settings.

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