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      Validity and Utility of Four Pain Intensity Measures for Use in International Research

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          The majority of previous research that has examined the validity of pain intensity rating scales has been conducted in western and developed countries. Research to evaluate the generalizability of previous findings in non-developed countries is necessary for identifying the scales that are most appropriate for use in international research.


          The aims of the current study were to (1) evaluate the validity and utility of four commonly used measures of pain intensity in a sample of patients with chronic pain from Thailand and (2) compare findings in the current sample with published findings from research conducted in other countries, in order to identify the measure or measures which might be most appropriate for cross-country research.


          Three hundred and sixty patients with chronic pain seen in a hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, were asked to rate their current pain and average, worst, and least pain intensity in the past week using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), 6-point Verbal Rating Scale (VRS-6), 0–10 Numerical Rating Scale (NRS-11), and Faces Pain Scale-Revised (FPS-R). We evaluated the utility and validity of each measure by examining the (1) rates of correct responding and (2) association of each measure with a factor score representing the variance shared across measures, respectively. We also evaluated the associations between incorrect response rates and both age and education level, and then compared the findings from this sample with the findings from research conducted in other countries.


          The results indicated support for the validity of all measures among participants who were able to use these measures. However, there was variability in the incorrect response rates, with the VAS having the highest (45%) and the NRS-11 having the lowest (15%) incorrect response rates. The VAS was also the least preferred (9%) and the NRS-11 the most preferred (52%) scale. Education and age were significantly associated with incorrect response rates, and education level with scale preference.


          The findings indicate that the NRS-11 has the most utility in our sample of Thai individuals with chronic pain. However, when considered in light of the findings from other countries, the results of this study suggest that the FPS-R may have the most utility for use in cross-cultural and international research. Research in additional samples in developing countries is needed to evaluate the generalizability of the current findings.

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          Most cited references 45

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          Guidelines for the Process of Cross-Cultural Adaptation of Self-Report Measures

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            The Faces Pain Scale for the self-assessment of the severity of pain experienced by children: development, initial validation, and preliminary investigation for ratio scale properties.

            Altogether 553 children (195 first graders, mean age 6.8 years, and 358 third graders, mean age 8.7 years) participated in the development of a self-report measure to assess the intensity of children's pain. The first step was the derivation, from children's drawings of facial expressions of pain, of 5 sets of 7 schematic faces depicting changes in severity of expressed pain from no pain to the most pain possible. With the set of faces that achieved the highest agreement in pain ordering, additional studies were conducted to determine whether the set had the properties of a scale. In one study, children rank-ordered the faces on 2 occasions, separated by 1 week. All 7 faces were correctly ranked by 64% (retest 1 week later, 61%) of grade 1 children and by 86% (retest 89%) of grade 3 children. In a second study, the faces were presented in all possible paired combinations. All 7 faces were correctly placed by 62% (retest 86%) of the younger and by 75% (retest 71%) of the older subjects. A third study asked children to place faces along a scale: a procedure allowing a check on the equality of intervals. The fourth study checked on whether pain was acting as an underlying construct for ordering the faces in memory. We asked whether children perceived the set as a scale by asking if memory for an ordered set of faces was more accurate than for a random set. The final study checked, with 6-year-old children, the test-retest reliability of ratings for recalled experiences of pain. Overall, the faces pain scale incorporates conventions used by children, has achieved strong agreement in the rank ordering of pain, has indications that the intervals are close to equal, and is treated by children as a scale. The test-retest data suggest that it may prove to be a reliable index over time of self-reported pain.
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              Core outcome measures for chronic pain clinical trials: IMMPACT recommendations.


                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                21 April 2021
                : 14
                : 1129-1139
                [1 ]Department of Anesthesiology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University , Bangkok, Thailand
                [2 ]Department of Anesthesiology, Nopparatrajathanee Hospital , Bangkok, Thailand
                [3 ]Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington , Seattle, WA, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Pramote Euasobhon Department of Anesthesiology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University , 2 Wanglang Road, Bangkoknoi, Bangkok, 10700, ThailandTel +66 2419 7995Fax +66 2411 3256 Email pramoteo@hotmail.com
                © 2021 Atisook et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 16, References: 46, Pages: 11
                Funded by: Siriraj research fund, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University;
                This research project was supported by Siriraj research fund, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Grant number (IO) R016131053.
                Original Research


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