Patient-related barriers to pain management: the Barriers Questionnaire II (BQ-II)

Pain. 2002 Oct;99(3):385-396. doi: 10.1016/S0304-3959(02)00243-9.


Patients' beliefs can act as barriers to optimal management of cancer pain. The Barriers Questionnaire (BQ) is a tool used to evaluate such barriers. Here, the BQ has been revised to reflect changes in pain management practices, resulting in the Barriers Questionnaire-II (BQ-II), a 27-item, self report instrument. This paper presents the results from two studies where the psychometric properties of the BQ-II were evaluated. In the first study, the responses of 27 nurses trained in pain management were compared to responses of a convenience sample of 12 patients with cancer. The results indicated that patients with cancer had higher mean scores on the BQ-II than did nurses trained in pain management. In the second study, a convenience sample of 172 patients with cancer responded to the BQ-II and a set of pain and quality of life (QOL) measures. A factor analysis supported four factors. Factor one, physiological effects, consists of 12 items addressing the beliefs that side effects of analgesics are inevitable and unmanageable, concerns about tolerance, and concerns about not being able to monitor changes in one's body when taking strong pain medications. Factor two, Fatalism, consists of three items addressing fatalistic beliefs about cancer pain and its management. Factor three, Communication, consists of six items addressing the concern that reports of pain distract the physician from treating the underlying disease, and the belief that 'good' patients do not complain of pain. The fourth and final factor, harmful effects, consists of six items addressing fear of becoming addicted to pain medication and the belief that pain medications harm the immune system. The BQ-II total had an internal consistency of 0.89, and alpha for the subscales ranged from 0.75 to 0.85. Mean (SD) scores on the total scale was 1.52 (0.73). BQ-II scores were related to measures of pain intensity and duration, mood, and QOL. Patients who used adequate analgesics for their levels of pain had lower scores on the BQ-II than did patients who used inadequate analgesics. The BQ-II is a reliable and valid measure of patient-related barriers to cancer pain management.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Communication Barriers*
  • Disease Management
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Management*
  • Patient Compliance* / psychology
  • Patient Compliance* / statistics & numerical data
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychometrics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*


  • Analgesics