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      Pain sensitivity can be assessed by self-rating: Development and validation of the Pain Sensitivity Questionnaire.


      Adult, Age Factors, Aged, Anxiety, psychology, Cold Temperature, diagnostic use, Depression, Female, Hot Temperature, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Pain, Pain Measurement, methods, Pain Threshold, physiology, Physical Stimulation, Pressure, Questionnaires, Reproducibility of Results, Self Concept, Sex Factors

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          Experimental determination of pain sensitivity has received increasing attention because of emerging clinical applications (including prediction of postoperative pain and treatment response) and scientific implications (e.g. it has been proposed that above-average pain sensitivity is a risk factor for the development of chronic pain disorders). However, the use of experimental pain sensitivity assessment on a broad scale is hampered by its requirements on time, equipment and human resources and the fact that it is painful for the tested subject. Alternatives to experimental pain testing are currently lacking. Here we developed a self-rating instrument for the assessment of pain sensitivity, the Pain Sensitivity Questionnaire (PSQ) that is based on pain intensity ratings of daily life situations and takes 5-10min to complete. Adequate reliability of the PSQ was confirmed in 354 subjects. In a validation study comprising 47 healthy subjects, the results of comprehensive experimental pain testing, including different modalities (heat, cold, pressure, and pinprick) and different measures (pain thresholds, pain intensity ratings), were compared to the results of the PSQ. PSQ scores were significantly correlated to experimental pain intensity ratings (r = 0.56, p < 0.001) but not to pain thresholds (r = 0.03). Prediction of experimental pain intensity ratings by the PSQ was better than by pain-associated psychological factors (pain catastrophizing, depression, anxiety). This shows that the PSQ may be a simple alternative to experimental pain intensity rating procedures in healthy subjects and makes the PSQ a highly promising tool for clinical and experimental pain research.

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