An evaluation of the measurement of pain catastrophizing by the coping strategies questionnaire

Eur J Pain. 2007 Jan;11(1):75-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpain.2005.12.010. Epub 2006 Mar 20.


Measurement and conceptual issues of pain catastrophizing have been raised in the literature. The issues of construct redundancy and measurement overlap have received particular attention, with suggestions that measures of pain catastrophizing are confounded with measures of negative mood, namely depression. The current study sought to investigate these issues in the coping strategies questionnaire-catastrophizing subscale (CSQ-CAT), a widely used measure of pain catastrophizing. Chronic pain patients (n=152) were recruited from the University of Florida pain clinics and completed a battery of psychological measures. Regression analyses indicated that measures of depression, anxiety, and anger accounted for 69% and 19% of the variance in measures of pain catastrophizing and pain, respectively. Trait anger and the cognitive and fearful dimensions of depression and anxiety were uniquely associated with pain catastrophizing. After controlling for measures of negative mood, pain catastrophizing contributed minimally to the prediction of pain. This study suggests that the CSQ-CAT is highly related to measures of negative mood and raises doubts about its measurement of the construct of pain catastrophizing. Results also provide support for theoretical accounts of the relationships between pain catastrophizing, negative mood, and pain. Clinical implications, future research directions, and alternative measures of pain catastrophizing are discussed.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Anger / physiology
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / etiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Chronic Disease / psychology
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / complications
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*