Self-monitored pain intensity: Psychometric properties and clinical utility

Robert D. Kerns, Paul Finn, Jennifer Haythornthwaite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


A procedure for the evaluation of fluctuations in perceived pain intensity among chronic pain patients is described, and its psychometric properties and clinical and heuristic utility are examined. A heterogeneous sample of 97 chronic pain patients recorded 2 weeks of hourly self-monitored pain intensity (SMPI), completed a structured interview and several questionnaires, and established behavioral goals prior to participation in a pain rehabilitation program. Three variables were derived from the SMPI data: mean SMPI, variability, and number of missing observations. A series of analyses supported both the test-retest reliability and the concurrent validity of SMPI. Significant correlations with measures of depression, anxiety, marital satisfaction, perceived life interference, and activity levels were interpreted as support for the conceptual validity of SMPI within a cognitive-behavioral perspective. The utility of SMPI in predicting rehabilitation outcomes was also demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-82
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • chronic pain
  • cognitive-behavioral assessment
  • pain intensity
  • self-monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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