Encyclopedia of Pain

2013 Edition
| Editors: Gerald F. Gebhart, Robert F. Schmidt

McGill Pain Questionnaire

  • Ronald MelzackEmail author
  • Joel Katz
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-28753-4_2298



The  McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) consists of 78 words, obtained from pain-patient interviews and the clinical literature, which describe distinctly different aspects of the experience of pain (Melzack 1975). The words are categorized into three major classes:
  1. 1.

    Words that describe the sensory qualities of the experience in terms of temporal, spatial, pressure, thermal, and other properties

  2. 2.

    Words that describe  affective qualities in terms of tension, fear, and autonomic properties that are part of the pain experience

  3. 3.

    Evaluative words that describe the subjective overall intensity of the total pain experience


Each class comprises several subclasses, which contain a group of words that are considered by most subjects to be qualitatively similar (Melzack and Torgerson 1971).

In addition to the list of pain descriptors, the questionnaire contains descriptors of the overall present...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada