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Pain Medicine

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Chronic pain -- Treatment, Pain -- Measurement, Chronic pain -- Psychological aspects, Quality of life


Objective: To develop and begin to evaluate a new measure of the centrality of pain in patients' lives.

Design: Cross-sectional survey and cognitive interviews.

Setting: Academic general internal medicine clinic.

Patients: 65 adult internal medicine patients with chronic non-malignant pain (CNMP).

Outcome measures: We assessed content validity and clarity of the 10-item Centrality of Pain Scale (COPS) by soliciting feedback from chronic pain experts and by conducting cognitive interviews with patients with CNMP. We assessed internal consistency reliability using Cronbach's alpha. We assessed construct validity by comparing the COPS with other measures of chronic pain morbidity including pain severity, depression, anxiety, physical and mental health function, PTSD, quality of life, and provider assessment.

Results: Healthcare providers felt the COPS had excellent face validity. Cognitive interviews revealed that patients' understanding of the items matched the intended construct, the scale measured an important concept, and items were easy to understand. The COPS had excellent internal consistency (alpha=0.9). COPS was negatively associated with age (r=−0.29; p=0.02), but not with other demographic characteristics. Higher COPS scores were associated with poorer physical (r=−0.48; p

Conclusions: The COPS has excellent internal consistency and construct validity. Additional studies are needed to further validate the scale.


This is the author's manuscript. Originally published in Pain Medicine, 2011 April; 12(4): 612-617.

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