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Development and Preliminary Psychometric Testing of the Centrality of Pain Scale
Social Work Faculty Publications and Presentations
  • Christina Nicolaidis, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Teresa Chianello, Portland State University
  • Martha Gerrity, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Portland
Document Type
Publication Date
  • Chronic pain -- Treatment,
  • Pain -- Measurement,
  • Chronic pain -- Psychological aspects,
  • Quality of life

Objective: To develop and begin to evaluate a new measure of the centrality of pain in patients' lives.

Design: Cross-sectional survey and cognitive interviews.

Setting: Academic general internal medicine clinic.

Patients: 65 adult internal medicine patients with chronic non-malignant pain (CNMP).

Outcome measures: We assessed content validity and clarity of the 10-item Centrality of Pain Scale (COPS) by soliciting feedback from chronic pain experts and by conducting cognitive interviews with patients with CNMP. We assessed internal consistency reliability using Cronbach's alpha. We assessed construct validity by comparing the COPS with other measures of chronic pain morbidity including pain severity, depression, anxiety, physical and mental health function, PTSD, quality of life, and provider assessment.

Results: Healthcare providers felt the COPS had excellent face validity. Cognitive interviews revealed that patients' understanding of the items matched the intended construct, the scale measured an important concept, and items were easy to understand. The COPS had excellent internal consistency (alpha=0.9). COPS was negatively associated with age (r=−0.29; p=0.02), but not with other demographic characteristics. Higher COPS scores were associated with poorer physical (r=−0.48; p

Conclusions: The COPS has excellent internal consistency and construct validity. Additional studies are needed to further validate the scale.


This is the author's manuscript. Originally published in Pain Medicine, 2011 April; 12(4): 612-617.

The definitive version was published online:

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Citation Information
Nicolaidis, C., Chienello, T., Gerrity, M. The Development and Initial Psychometric Assessment of the Centrality of Pain Scale. Pain Medicine. 2011; 12: 612-617.