Bone and Joint Institute

Confirmatory factor analysis of 2 versions of the Brief Pain Inventory in an ambulatory population indicates that sleep interference should be interpreted separately

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Scandinavian Journal of Pain



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© 2016 Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain. Background: The Brief Pain Inventory (BPI-SF) is a widely-used generic pain interference scale, however its factor structure remains unclear. An expanded 10-item version of the Interference subscale has been proposed, but the additional value of the 3 extra items has not been rigorously evaluated. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and contrast the factorial and concurrent validity of the original 7-item and 10-item versions of the BPI-SF in a large heterogeneous sample of patients with chronic pain. Methods: Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted on independent subsets of the sample, and concurrent correlations with scales capturing similar constructs were evaluated. Results: Two independent exploratory factor analyses (n = 500 each) supported a single interference factor in both the 7- and 10-item versions, while confirmatory factor analysis (N = 1000) suggested that a 2-factor structure (Physical and Affective) provided better fit. A 3-factor model, where sleep interference was the third factor, improved in model fit further. There was no significant difference in model fit between the 7- and 10-item versions. Concurrent associations with measures of general health, pain intensity and pain-related cognitions were all in the anticipated direction and magnitude and were not different by version of the BPI-SF. Conclusions and implications: The addition of 3 extra items to the original 7-item Interference subscale of the BPI-SF did not improve psychometric properties. The combined results lead us to endorse a 3-factor structure (Physical, Affective, and Sleep Interference) as the more statistically and conceptually sound option.

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