Changes in chronic pain severity over time: the Chronic Pain Grade as a valid measure

Alison M. Elliott, Blair H. Smith, W. Cairns Smith, W. Alastair Chambers

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    Abstract

    Our understanding of the natural history of chronic pain in the community is limited. This is partly due to the lack of a validated measure of chronic pain severity known to be responsive to change over time. The Chronic Pain Grade questionnaire has been shown to be valid and reliable for use in a general population as a self-completion questionnaire. However, its reliability and validity for use in longitudinal studies and its responsiveness to change over time has not yet been assessed. We undertook a postal survey designed to test the responsiveness and the validity of the Chronic Pain Grade questionnaire over time. A random sample of 560 chronic pain patients, aged 25 years and over was drawn from an existing cohort and stratified for age, gender and chronic pain severity. Subjects were re-surveyed by a postal self-completion questionnaire consisting of the Chronic Pain Grade and the SF-36 general health questionnaire, which is known to be responsive to change in health over time. To test whether changes in CPG scores correlated with changes in SF-36 scores, Spearman's rank correlation coefficients were calculated. A response rate of 86% was achieved for the follow-up study. The majority of SF-36 scores changed in the hypothesized directions. Changes in CPG scores were significantly correlated with changes in most of the SF-36 domains. We concluded that the CPG is a useful and valid objective instrument for measuring change in severity of chronic pain over time and could be used in longitudinal studies of chronic pain severity. (C) 2000 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)303-308
    Number of pages6
    JournalPain
    Volume88
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2000

    Keywords

    • Chronic pain
    • Pain measurement
    • Validation
    • Natural history
    • Epidemiology
    • Survey

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