Associations among pain intensity, sensory characteristics, affective qualities, and activity limitations in patients with chronic pain: a momentary, within-person perspective

J Pain. 2004 Oct;5(8):433-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2004.07.005.


The purpose of this article is to explore the multidimensionality of the pain experience for patients with chronic pain by using a within-person, longitudinal approach. An Ecological Momentary Assessment design with a patient electronic diary was used to collect random momentary pain assessments several times a day for 2 weeks. We examined the within-person relationships between pain intensity, sensory characteristics, affective qualities, and activities limited by pain. All 3 dimensions (sensory, affective, and activities) were significantly related to pain intensity in a monotonic, but nonlinear, manner. These results expand our understanding of the pain experience by showing that changes of pain over time are associated with changes in sensory symptoms, affective distress, and activity limitations.

Perspective: Although the relationships between pain dimensions have been examined between people, the results have been interpreted as within-persons. This article confirms that pain intensity is significantly related to sensory characteristics of pain, affective qualities of pain, and activity limitations due to pain within a person.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Linear Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Medical Records / standards
  • Medical Records / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement / psychology
  • Pain Measurement / standards
  • Pain Measurement / statistics & numerical data*