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Shorter Pain Questionnaire Proves to Be Useful in Children

The Pain Beliefs Questionnaire (PBQ) has proven to be effective as a 32-item survey, but researchers found it is still reliable when cut down to 18 items.

Pain management is a rather messy area of medicine. Between social stigma and lack of biomarkers for diagnosis, proper diagnosis and effective treatment can be an imprecise and difficult process. The problem becomes extra tricky when it comes to kids, for what seems like obvious reasons. But one theory looks at cognitive behavioral interventions for chronic pain.

First author Amanda Stone, MS, of Vanderbilt University, and colleagues focused on the pediatric population and the usefulness of the Pain Beliefs Questionnaire (PBQ). This 32-item questionnaire was developed to measure children’s pain threat appraisals, problem-focused pain coping efficacy, and emotion-focused pain coping efficacy, as explained in the journal PAIN.

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There were two main goals in the study — to create a shorter version of the PBQ and evaluate the psychometric properties of the reduced measure. To do this, the researchers evaluated 871 kids with functional abdominal pain.

The team found that cutting the questionnaire to a short form (SF) consisting of 18 items resulted in similar psychometric properties as the original version.

“All three subscales of the PBQ-SF exhibited strong internal consistency and adequate test-retest reliability at two weeks,” the authors verified. They said that the shorter version is reliable for assessing children’s pain beliefs.

The findings indicate that PBQ-SF can help choose the appropriate treatment for kids with pain, but future research is needed to evaluate if it is valid for clinical trials.

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