The goal of the current study was to enhance the measurement of the pediatric chronic pain experience through a methodologically rigorous approach. This paper outlines the development and initial validation of a pain intensity measure for pediatric patients with chronic pain using PROMIS® methodology. Measure development incorporated feedback from children with painful conditions. Based on input from pediatric participants and content experts, four candidate items assessing pain intensity were included for large scale testing. Children completed self-report items pertaining to their pain experience that were developed as part of a larger pool of new candidate PROMIS® pediatric pain domain items as well as measures of pain interference, depressive symptoms, fatigue, pain behavior, pain intensity, and pain catastrophizing. The final sample for the large scale testing included N = 442 pediatric patients between the ages 8 to 18 years (Mean age = 13.54, SD = 2.78; 71.27% female) experiencing chronic pain. Psychometric analysis resulted in a final measure that included three items with evidence of reliability (Cronbach alpha = 0.82) and convergent validity. The Likert format of the response options may be preferable to the traditional numeric rating scale for use in pediatric populations who experience chronic pain based on patients’ feedback, which was directly utilized in designing the scale. Further, the inclusion of fewer and clinically meaningful response options should reduce ambiguity for young respondents. Perspective: We have developed and evaluated a clinically sensitive and psychometrically precise 3-item pain intensity measure with Likert-type responses for self-report use among children and adolescents ages 8-18 with chronic pain. Development of the item content and response options included input from children and adolescents with chronic pain. The development of pain intensity items with pediatric appropriate language, and labeled, fewer response options to yield maximal clinically meaningful information improves the precision of pain intensity measurement in children.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.