Skip To Main Content University of Washington Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
  Department of Rehabilitation Medicine 
  maximizing potential across the lifespan

Title:

Validity of four pain intensity rating scales

Author(s):

Ferreira-Valente MA, Pais-Ribeiro JL, Jensen MP

Year:

2011

Publication Info:

Pain, 152(10):2399-2404

Abstract:

The Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), Numerical Rating Scale (NRS), Verbal Rating Scale (VRS), and the Faces Pain Scale-Revised (FPS-R) are among the most commonly used measures of pain intensity in clinical and research settings. Although evidence supports their validity as measures of pain intensity, few studies have compared them with respect to the critical validity criteria of responsivity, and no experiment has directly compared all 4 measures in the same study. The current study compared the relative validity of VAS, NRS, VRS, and FPS-R for detecting differences in painful stimulus intensity and differences between men and women in response to experimentally induced pain. One hundred twenty-seven subjects underwent four 20-second cold pressor trials with temperature order counterbalanced across 1C, 3C, 5C, and 7C and rated pain intensity using all 4 scales. Results showed statistically significant differences in pain intensity between temperatures for each scale, with lower temperatures resulting in higher pain intensity. The order of responsivity was as follows: NRS, VAS, VRS, and FPS-R. However, there were relatively small differences in the responsivity between scales. A statistically significant sex main effect was also found for the NRS, VRS, and FPS-R. The findings are consistent with previous studies supporting the validity of each scale. The most support emerged for the NRS as being both (1) most responsive and (2) able to detect sex differences in pain intensity. The results also provide support for the validity of the scales for use in Portuguese samples.

Link to Article:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21856077

Featured Research Articles

Assistive Technology

View the latest research articles on Assistive Technology written by faculty from the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine.

Volunteer to Participate in our Research Studies

The Department of Rehabilitation Medicine is looking for volunteers to participate in research studies on Multiple Sclerosis & Pain Management, and Traumatic Brain Injury.

Level A conformance icon, 
          W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
Copyright © 2000-2017 University of Washington