Bone and Joint Institute


Creation and validation of the 4-item BriefPCS-chronic through methodological triangulation

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Health and Quality of Life Outcomes





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© 2020 The Author(s). Background: The Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS) is a widely used self-report tool to evaluate pain related catastrophizing. The PCS was developed using classical test theory and has been shown to be psychometrically sound among various populations. However, it's current three subscales are rarely used in clinical practice, offering potential for an abbreviated version that reduces administrative burden and can be used to estimate full scale scores, yet is not bound by the inclusion of items from each subscale. Hence, the aim of the current study was to develop a unidimensional abbreviated version of the PCS through findings from qualitative, classical test theory, and newer Rasch analysis. Methods: The current cross-sectional study used data from the Quebec Pain Registry (n = 5646) to obtain PCS scores of people seeking care at tertiary chronic pain centres. To develop an abbreviated unidimensional tool, items were removed based on triangulation of qualitative review of each item and response, corrected item-total correlations, and Rasch analysis. Confirmatory factor analysis was conducted on the final remaining items to confirm the tool was assessing a single latent construct (catastrophizing). Fit was assessed using the cumulative fit index (CFI), Tucker Lewis Index (TLI), and root-mean-squared error of approximation (RMSEA). Results: After triangulation, a final abbreviated 4-item scale showed adequate model fit with a strong correlation (r > 0.95) with the original scale and properties that were stable across age, sex, cause, and medicolegal status. Additionally, the brief version addressed some problematic wording on some items on the original scale. Both the original and new abbreviated tool were associated with the Beck Depression Inventory and the Brief Pain Inventory at the same magnitude. Conclusion: The abbreviated scale may allow for a decrease in administrator burden and greater clinical uptake when a quick screen for exaggerated negative orientation towards pain is needed.

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