COSMIN database

A content review of cognitive process measures used in pain research within adult populations

Day, M. A., Lang, C. P., Newton-John, T. R., Ehde, D. M., and Jensen, M. P.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Previous research suggests that measures of cognitive process may be confounded by the inclusion of items that also assess cognitive content. The primary aims of this content review were to: (1) identify the domains of cognitive processes assessed by measures used in pain research; and (2) determine if pain-specific cognitive process measures with adequate psychometric properties exist.

DATABASES AND DATA TREATMENT: PsychInfo, CINAHL, PsycArticles, MEDLINE, and Academic Search Complete databases were searched to identify the measures of cognitive process used in pain research. Identified measures were double coded and the measure's items were rated as: (1) cognitive content; (2) cognitive process; (3) behavioural/social; and/or (4) emotional coping/responses to pain.

RESULTS: A total of 319 scales were identified; of these, 29 were coded as providing an un-confounded assessment of cognitive process, and 12 were pain-specific. The cognitive process domains assessed in these measures are Absorption, Dissociation, Reappraisal, Distraction/Suppression, Acceptance, Rumination, Non-Judgment, and Enhancement. Pain-specific, un-confounded measures were identified for: Dissociation, Reappraisal, Distraction/Suppression, and Acceptance. Psychometric properties of all 319 scales are reported in supplementary material.

CONCLUSIONS: To understand the importance of cognitive processes in influencing pain outcomes as well as explaining the efficacy of pain treatments, valid and pain-specific cognitive process measures that are not confounded with non-process domains (e.g., cognitive content) are needed. The findings of this content review suggest that future research focused on developing cognitive process measures is critical in order to advance our understanding of the mechanisms that underlie effective pain treatment.

SIGNIFICANCE: Many cognitive process measures used in pain research contain a 'mix' of items that assess cognitive process, cognitive content, and behavioural/emotional responses. Databases searched: PsychInfo, CINAHL, PsycArticles, MEDLINE and Academic Search Complete. This review describes the domains assessed by measures assessing cognitive processes in pain research, as well as the strengths and limitations of these measures.
Eur J Pain
1532-2149 (Electronic); 1090-3801 (Linking)
Publication year:
Symptom status:
Cognitive/mental state
Emotional state
Functional status:
Cognitive/mental functioning
Adults (18-65)
Seniors (65+)
Diseases of and symptoms related to the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue
Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified
PRO / non-PRO:
Patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
1 - Questionnaires
4DSQ - Four-Dimensional Symptom Questionnaire   
Acceptance & Action Questionnaire-II
AEQ - Avoidance-Endurance Questionnaire
Barsky Somatic Symptom Amplification Scale
Billings & Moos Coping Responses Scale
BPCI - Brief Pain Coping Inventory
BPRI - Brief Pain Response Inventory
Cambridge Depersonalization Scale
Cognitive Coping Strategies Inventory
Cognitive Coping Strategies Inventory-Revised
Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire
COPE - Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced Inventory   
Coping Orientations and Prototypes
Coping Schemas Inventory Revised
Coping with Rheumatoid Arthritis Questionnaire
CPAQ - Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire (versions: CPAQ-SF - CPAQ-Short Form; CPAQ-P - CPAQ-Parent Report)
CPCI-1 - Chronic Pain Coping Inventory-1 item
CPCI-2 - Chronic Pain Coping Inventory-2 item
CPCI - Chronic Pain Coping Inventory
CSI - Coping Strategy Inventory
CSI-SF - Coping Strategies Inventory-SF
CSQ-1 - Coping Strategies Questionnaire-1 item
CSQ-2 - Coping Strategies Questionnaire-2 item
CSQ - Coping Strategies Questionnaire
CSQ-R - Coping Strategies Questionnaire-Revised
Daily Coping Inventory-Adapted for Pain
EQ - Experiences Questionnaire
FABQ - Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire   
FFMQ - Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire
Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire-SF
FPQ - Fear of Pain Questionnaire (versions: FPQ-SF - FPQ-Short Form; FPQ-III; P-FOPQ - Parent FPQ)
ICQ - Illness Cognition Questionnaire
Imaging Ability Questionnaire
JCS - Jalowiec Coping Scale
MAAS - Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale
Medical Coping Modes Questionnaire
Meta-Cognitions Questionnaire
Meta-Cognitions Questionnaire-SF
Miller Behavioural Style Scale
Miller Behavioural Style Scale-SF
Pain and Impairment Relationship Scale
Pain-Related Self-Statements Scale
Pain Solutions Questionnaire
PASS - Pain Anxiety Symptoms Scale   
PASS-SF - Pain Anxiety Symptoms Scale-SF
PCI - Pain Coping Inventory   
PCL - Pain Cognition List
PCS - Pain Catastrophizing Scale (versions: PCS-P - PCS-parent)   
Perception of Control Scale
Positive States of Mind Scale
Profile of Chronic Pain: Extended Assessment Battery
Psychological inflexibility and Pain Scale
PVAQ - Pain Vigilance and Awareness Questionnaire
Self-Compassion Scale
Self-Compassion Scale-SF
Sense of Coherence Scale (SOC) ; SOC-13 (13 items) ; SOC-81 (81 items); SOC-29 (29 items); SOC-9 (9 items)
Short Sense of Competence Questionnaire
Tellegen Absorption Scale
Theoratically Originated Measure of the Cognitive Activation Theory of Sress
Thought Control Ability Questionnaire
Thought Control Questionnaire
TSK - Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia (versions: TSK-11 items; TSK-SF - TSK-Short Form)   
VanderBilt Pain Management Inventory
WCQ - Ways of Coping Questionnaire
White Bear Suppression Inventory
WHYMPI - West Haven-Yale Multidimensional Pain Inventory