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.
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.
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.
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.
Research funding: This work was supported by the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (16/003) with additional support from a private donation and the Profield Foundation.
Conflict of interest: Authors state no conflict of interest.
Informed consent: Informed consent has been obtained from all individuals included in this study.
Ethical approval: The research related to human use complies with all the relevant national regulations, institutional policies and was performed in accordance with the tenets of the Helsinki Declaration, and has been approved by the authors institutional review board or equivalent committee.
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