Development of a pain attitudes questionnaire to assess stoicism and cautiousness for possible age differences

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2001 Sep;56(5):P279-84. doi: 10.1093/geronb/56.5.p279.


This study aimed to develop a pain attitudes questionnaire (PAQ) and examine its reliability and validity for use in assessing the constructs of stoicism and cautiousness relevant to pain perception. The questionnaire was administered to 373 healthy community-dwelling individuals who were subsequently divided into four age groups to test for differences in stoicism and cautiousness, two attitudes that have previously been claimed to influence pain perception and report among older adults. Factor analysis revealed that two dimensions of stoicism and two dimensions of cautiousness are measured by the scale, with reticence and superiority characterizing the first construct and self-doubt and reluctance characterizing the second. There was support for the scale's reliability and validity. Age-related increase in degree of reticence to pain, self-doubt, and reluctance to label a sensation as painful was found, emphasizing the need for careful consideration of pain attitudes in older patients who may underreport their pain symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Defense Mechanisms*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Threshold
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Philosophy*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sick Role*