Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 162–173 | Cite as

A measure for quality of life assessment in chronic pain: preliminary properties of the WHOQOL-pain



Chronic pain has a considerable impact on patient-reported outcomes such as quality of life (QoL). To assess QoL in people with chronic pain, a pain and discomfort module (PDM) was developed for use with the WHOQOL-100 and its psychometric properties assessed. Sixteen items covered four facets on pain relief; anger and frustration; vulnerability, fear and worry; and uncertainty. Chronic low back pain patients (n = 133) (age 56; pain duration 85 months; 65% female) completed the WHOQOL-100 and PDM, McGill Pain Questionnaire, and SF-12. The PDM showed good internal consistency reliability (α = .88) (alphas .66–.81). Except for anger, all facets associated most strongly with their ‘parent’ domain. Pain and poorer QoL were strongly associated, supporting construct validity. The SF-12 physical health component associated strongly with pain relief, and the mental health score with other facets, indicating good concurrent validity. Discriminant validity tests showed that PDM scores distinguished between ill and well patients, and between those reporting different health statuses. The PDM has fair to good psychometric properties indicating its value as a patient-reported outcome measure for clinical trials.


Chronic low back pain Quality of life WHOQOL-100 WHOQOL-pain Reliability Validity 



The Economic and Social Research Council (UK) funded this research. The authors thank Sister Liz Phelps, Dr Monica Baird, Dr Steven Hill, Dr Andrew Souter, Dr Ellis, Dr Arora, Staff Nurse Sarah Morgan, Beth Mathias and all those in pain who participated in this study. The foundation work of the WHOQOL Group is acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, WHO Field Centre for the Study of Quality of LifeUniversity of BathBathUK
  2. 2.Psychological SciencesUniversity of WorcesterWorcesterUK
  3. 3.Palliative Care Team, Royal United HospitalBathUK

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