Pain Severity

1. Please circle the one number that best describes your physical discomfort or pain on the average over the past 4 weeks:

   
None
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
As bad as
you can imagine

2. Please circle the one number that best describes your physical discomfort or pain at its WORST over the past 4 weeks:

   
None
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
As bad as
you can imagine

3. During the past 4 weeks, how often have you had physical discomfort or pain? (If you have had more than one discomfort or pain, answer by describing your feelings of discomfort or pain in general.) Circle ONE.

Never 1
Once or twice
2
A few times
3
Fairly often
4
Very often
5
Every day or almost every day
6

4. How much bodily discomfort or pain have you generally had during the past 4 weeks? Circle ONE.

None 1
Very mild
2
Mild
3
Moderate
4
Severe
5
Very severe
6

5. When you had physical discomfort or pain during the past 4 weeks, how long did it usually last? (If you have had more than one discomfort or pain, answer by describing your feelings of discomfort or pain in general.) Circle ONE.

Didn't have any 1
A few minutes
2
Several minutes to an hour
3
Several hours
4
A day or two
5
More than 2 days
6

Scoring

The score for each item is the number circled. If two consecutive numbers are circled, score the higher number (more pain). If the numbers are not consecutive, do not score the item. To score the scale, first transform each of the five items into a 0 to 100 scale, then calculate the mean of the transformed items. If more than two items are missing, do not score the scale. Scores range from 0-100; higher score indicates more pain.

Characteristics

Tested on 1,130 subjects with chronic disease. N=51 for test-retest.

No. of
items
Observed
Range

Mean
Standard
Deviation
Internal Consistency
Reliability
Test-Retest
Reliability
5
0-100
60.0
22.2
.88
.91

Source of Psychometric Data

Stanford Chronic Disease Self-Management Study. Psychometrics reported in: Lorig K, Stewart A, Ritter P, González V, Laurent D, & Lynch J, Outcome Measures for Health Education and other Health Care Interventions. Thousand Oaks CA: SAGE Publications, 1996.

Comments

This scale is a modified version of the Medical Outcomes Study pain severity scale, which was changed to omit the skip pattern and add "physical discomfort" to the item stems for the Chronic Disease Self-Management study. This scale is further modified by substituting a 0-10 visual numeric scale for the original 0-20 numeric scale in items 1 and 2. The psychometrics were done on the original 0-20 scale for items 1 and 2, which is printed in the PDF version of this page (see link on the bottom of this page). Reprinted with permission, Duke University Press. This scale available in Spanish.

References

Lorig K, Stewart A, Ritter P, González V, Laurent D, & Lynch J, Outcome Measures for Health Education and other Health Care Interventions. Thousand Oaks CA: SAGE Publications, 1996.

Stewart AK & Ware JE Jr (Eds), Measuring Functioning and Well-Being: The Medical Outcomes Study Approach. RAND Corporation, 1992.

To download this scale and scoring instructions, right click the link below with your mouse and "Save as" to you hard disk or desktop (for Windows), or double click (Mac):

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