Quality of Life Research

, Volume 24, Issue 10, pp 2305–2318 | Cite as

Establishing a common metric for self-reported pain: linking BPI Pain Interference and SF-36 Bodily Pain Subscale scores to the PROMIS Pain Interference metric

  • Karon F. CookEmail author
  • Benjamin D. Schalet
  • Michael A. Kallen
  • Joshua P. Rutsohn
  • David Cella



The study purposes were to mathematically link scores of the Brief Pain Inventory Pain Interference Subscale and the Short Form-36 Bodily Pain Subscale (legacy pain interference measures) to the NIH Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS®) Pain Interference (PROMIS-PI) metric and evaluate results.


Linking was accomplished using both equipercentile and item response theory (IRT) methods. Item parameters for legacy items were estimated on the PROMIS-PI metric to allow for pattern scoring. Crosswalk tables also were developed that associated raw scores (summed or average) on legacy measures to PROMIS-PI scores. For each linking strategy, participants’ actual PROMIS-PI scores were compared to those predicted based on their legacy scores. To assess the impact of different sample sizes, we conducted random resampling with replacement across 10,000 replications with sample sizes of n = 25, 50, and 75.


Analyses supported the assumption that all three scales were measuring similar constructs. IRT methods produced marginally better results than equipercentile linking. Accuracy of the links was substantially affected by sample size.


The linking tools (crosswalks and item parameter estimates) developed in this study are robust methods for estimating the PROMIS-PI scores of samples based on legacy measures. We recommend using pattern scoring for users who have the necessary software and score crosswalks for those who do not.


Pain Pain measurement Patient outcome assessment Psychometric methods/scaling Item response theory Instrument calibration/equivalency among scales 



This research was part of the PROsetta Stone® project, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute grant RC4CA157236 (David Cella, PI). For more information on PROsetta Stone, see


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karon F. Cook
    • 1
    Email author
  • Benjamin D. Schalet
    • 1
  • Michael A. Kallen
    • 1
  • Joshua P. Rutsohn
    • 1
  • David Cella
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical Social SciencesNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA

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