Quality of Life Research

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 245–255 | Cite as

Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis of the PROMIS pain quality item bank

  • Dennis A. RevickiEmail author
  • Karon F. Cook
  • Dagmar Amtmann
  • Neesha Harnam
  • Wen-Hung Chen
  • Francis J. Keefe



The assessment of pain sensation and quality is a key component in understanding the experience of individuals with chronic pain. This study evaluated the factor structure of the patient-reported outcome measurement information system (PROMIS) pain quality item bank.


As part of the PROMIS project, we developed a pool of 37 pain quality items, based on a review of existing pain questionnaires and development of new items. A web-based survey was designed and completed by 845 members of the general population and 967 individuals with different types of chronic pain. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted on a random split-half sample of the data to examine the factor structure of the 37 PROMIS pain quality items in the general population and in a chronic pain sample. A confirmatory factor analysis was conducted in the holdout sample.


The EFA of the pain quality items resulted in comparable six-factor solutions for the general and chronic pain samples: (1) pulling/tugging pain; (2) tingling/numbness pain; (3) sharp/stabbing pain; (4) dull/aching pain; (5) pounding/pulsing pain; and (6) affective pain. The confirmatory factor analysis in the holdout sample supported this factor structure.


Further research is needed to evaluate the psychometric characteristics of the derived scales based on their factor scores.


Pain quality Factor analysis Pain assessment Patient-reported outcome measurement information system General population Chronic pain 



The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Roadmap initiative to develop a computerized system measuring patient-reported outcomes in respondents with a wide range of chronic diseases and demographic characteristics. NIH Science Officers on this project are Susan Czajkowski, PhD, Lawrence Fine, MD, DrPH, Laura Lee Johnson, Ph.D. Louis Quatrano, PhD, Bryce Reeve, PhD, William Riley, PhD, Susana Serrate-Sztein, MD, and James Witter, MD, PhD. This manuscript was reviewed by the PROMIS Publications Subcommittee prior to external peer review. See the web site at for additional information on the PROMIS cooperative group.

Conflict of interest

PROMIS was funded by cooperative agreements to a Statistical Coordinating Center (NorthShore University Health System, PI: David Cella, PhD, U01AR52177) and six Primary Research Sites (Duke University, PI: Kevin Weinfurt, PhD, U01AR52186; University of North Carolina, PI: Darren DeWalt, MD, MPH, U01AR52181; University of Pittsburgh, PI: Paul A. Pilkonis, PhD, U01AR52155; Stanford University, PI: James Fries, MD, U01AR52158; Stony Brook University, PI: Arthur Stone, PhD, U01AR52170; and University of Washington, PI: Dagmar Amtmann, PhD, U01AR52171). The authors report no conflicts of interest related to this research and manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis A. Revicki
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karon F. Cook
    • 2
  • Dagmar Amtmann
    • 3
  • Neesha Harnam
    • 1
  • Wen-Hung Chen
    • 1
  • Francis J. Keefe
    • 4
  1. 1.Center for Health Outcomes ResearchUnited BioSource CorporationBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medical Social SciencesNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Rehabilitation MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral MedicineDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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