The Fear of Pain Questionnaire (FOPQ): assessment of pain-related fear among children and adolescents with chronic pain

J Pain. 2011 Jun;12(6):677-86. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2010.12.008. Epub 2011 Feb 26.


An important construct in understanding pain-related disability is pain-related fear. Heightened pain-related fear may result in behavioral avoidance leading to disuse, disability, and depression; whereas confrontation of avoided activities may result in a reduction of fear over time and reengagement with activities of daily living. Although there are several measures to assess pain-related fear among adults with chronic pain, none exist for children and adolescents. The aim of the current study was to develop a new tool to assess avoidance and fear of pain with pediatric chronic pain patients: the Fear of Pain Questionnaire, child report (FOPQ-C), and Fear of Pain Questionnaire, parent proxy report (FOPQ-P). After initial pilot testing, the FOPQ-C and FOPQ-P were administered to 299 youth with chronic pain and their parents at an initial multidisciplinary pain treatment evaluation. The FOPQ demonstrated very strong internal consistency of .92 for the child and parent versions. One-month stability estimates were acceptable and suggested responsivity to change. For construct validity, the FOPQ correlated with generalized anxiety, pain catastrophizing, and somatization. Evidence of criterion-related validity was found with significant associations for the FOPQ with pain, healthcare utilization, and functional disability. These results support the FOPQ as a psychometrically sound measure.

Perspective: Pain-related fear plays an important role in relation to emotional distress and pain-related disability among children and adolescents with chronic pain. Identification of patients with high levels of fear avoidance of pain with the FOPQ will inform how to proceed with psychological and physical therapy interventions for chronic pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology
  • Child
  • Chronic Pain / complications
  • Chronic Pain / psychology*
  • Fear / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*