Development of a new computer method to assess children's pain

Pain Med. 2007 Oct;8 Suppl 3:S121-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2007.00376.x.


Objective: The primary objective of this study was to determine initial psychometric properties and feasibility of a new Computer Face Scale for measuring pediatric pain. Drawbacks to current measurement tools include a lack of continuous variables, suboptimal mode of implementation, and difficulty interpreting results. A computer method of pediatric pain measurement is presented that addresses these problems. Basic psychometric properties, feasibility, and children's preference when compared with Wong-Baker Faces Scale were determined.

Methods: Fifty-four hospitalized, pediatric inpatients were tested using both the Computer Face Scale and the Wong-Baker Faces Scale. An additional 30 children (not hospitalized) were tested using only the Computer Face Scale.

Results: Both hospitalized and nonhospitalized children between the ages of 3 and 17 years of age are able to use the Computer Face Scale to express relative amounts of pain/hurt and happiness. The Computer Face Scale shows acceptable psychometric properties and is preferred by most children.

Conclusions: The Computer Face Scale offers advantages over traditional pediatric pain measurement tools. The opportunity for real time review, electronic and time-stamped recording, electronic display, and temporal comparisons of reports affords the potential for improvement in pediatric pain assessment and treatment.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Computers*
  • Humans
  • Pain Measurement* / instrumentation
  • Pain Measurement* / methods
  • Pain*