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


Reliability and validity of individual and composite recall pain measures in patients with cancer


Jensen MP, Wang W, Potts SL, Gould EM



Publication Info:

Pain Medicine, 13(10):1284-1291


OBJECTIVES: To evaluate and compare the validity and reliability of individual and composite recall pain intensity measures.
DESIGN: Secondary analyses using data from a published 14-day open-label crossover clinical trial comparing two active treatments.
SETTING: Multiple settings.
PARTICIPANTS: Fifty-two adults with a history of chronic cancer pain.
MEASURES: Recall ratings of least, worst, and average pain during the past 2 days; composite score representing recalled characteristic pain in the past 2 days; and daily diary ratings of pain intensity from which "actual" least, worst, and average pain scores were derived.
RESULTS: Recall ratings of least and average pain, and a composite score representing recalled characteristic pain were accurate (differed no more than three points from "actual" scores on a 0-100 scale). Although the recall rating of worst pain significantly (P < 0.05) overestimated actual worst pain, the differences were minor (i.e., seven to eight points on a 0-100 scale). All of the recall measures demonstrated validity via their strong associations with the measures of actual pain intensity. The recall measures also demonstrated excellent test-retest stability, although the diary-derived measures tended to be more stable than the recall measures did. The composite measure of recalled characteristic pain demonstrated a high level of internal consistency (Cronbach's a = 0.90).
CONCLUSIONS: Individual recall ratings and a composite score representing recalled characteristic pain intensity are reliable and valid measures of actual pain in patients with cancer. The findings support their use as outcome measures in clinical trials.

Link to Article:

Featured Research Articles

Traumatic Brain Injury

View the latest research articles on Traumatic Brain Injury 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 © 2000-2023 University of Washington