Situational Pain Scale (SPS) - Presentation

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  1. The concept of pain representation
  2. Development of the The Situational Pain Scale using the Rasch measurement model
  3. Synopsis

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The concept of pain representation

The report of pain perception includes both a sensory-discriminative component reflecting the functioning of the sensory system and an affective-motivational component reflecting the distress and drive generated by a given painful situation. The emotional component is more complex because it comprises several factors, which may be related to one another. For instance, these factors include current emotional status, painful past experiences, socio-cultural contexts, expectations of the interviewer and the social desirability of the answer. The measure of the global effect of these factors on pain perception could constitute a useful prognostic indicator of pain behaviors to guide care-givers in their management of both acute and chronic pain patients.

The Situational Pain Scale (SPS) portrays everyday life painful situations (e.g., I burn my tongue tasting scorching hot food) that subjects have to rate on a verbal pain rating scale. The effect of psychological factors is thus measured through the mental representation of pain intensity in imaginary painful situations. Since this effect cannot be observed directly it has to be inferred from observed consistency in responses.

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Development of the The Situational Pain Scale using the Rasch measurement model

The Situational Pain Scale (SPS) is a self-report questionnaire measuring the mental representation of pain intensity in imaginary painful situations. The questionnaires was originally developed using the Rasch measurement model which allows to convert ordinal scores into linear measures located on a unidimensional scale. The SPS has been calibrated in healthy subjects and in chronic pain patients. The original version of SPS was developed in French. However, an English version is also available (see downloads section).

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Synopsis

SPS in healthy subjects and chronic pain patients
• 18 items depicting imaginary painful situations.
• Each item is answered on a 4-level scale (not painful, slightly painful, moderately painful, and extremely painful).
• Measurement range: approx. 10 logits.
• Measurement error: 0.38 logits in the centre of the scale.
• Least measurable difference: 0.14 logit in the centre of the scale.
• Separation reliability: 0.92 in our sample of 100 healthy subjects and 111 chronic pain patients.
• Invariant item hierarchy across: group (healthy subjects vs. chronic pain patients), sex, age, and situational pain representation in our sample of 100 healthy subjects and 111 chronic pain patients. Invariant item hierarchy across: pathology, duration since onset of symptoms, present pain intensity, level of depression, level of anxiety, trait anxiety, anxiety about pain in the sample of 111 chronic pain patients.

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