Normative data for common pain measures in chronic pain clinic populations: closing a gap for clinicians and researchers
Normative data for chronic pain questionnaires are essential to the interpretation of aggregate scores on these questionnaires, for both clinical trials and clinical practice. In this study, we summarised data from 13,343 heterogeneous patients on several commonly used pain questionnaires that were routinely collected from 36 pain clinics in Australia and New Zealand as part of the electronic Persistent Pain Outcomes Collaboration (ePPOC) including the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI); the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scales (DASS); the Pain Self-Efficacy Questionnaire (PSEQ); and the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS). The data are presented as summarised normative data, broken down by demographic (age, sex, work status, etc) and pain site/medical variables. The mean BPI severity score was 6.4 (moderate-severe), and mean interference score was 7.0. The mean DASS depression score was 20.2 (moderate-severe), mean DASS anxiety was 14.0 (moderate), and mean DASS stress was 21.0 (moderate). The mean PCS scores were 10.0, 5.9, 14.1, and 29.8 for rumination, magnification, helplessness, and total, respectively. The mean PSEQ score was 20.7. Men had slightly worse scores than women on some scales. Scores tended to worsen with age until 31 to 50 years, after which they improved. Scores were worse for those who had a greater number of pain sites, were unemployed, were injury compensation cases, or whose triggering event was a motor vehicle accident or injury at work or home. These results and comparisons with data on the same measures from other countries, as well as their uses in both clinical practice and clinical trials, are discussed.