Development and validation of shortened, restructured Treatment Outcomes in Pain Survey instrument (the S-TOPS) for assessment of individual pain patients' health-related quality of life

Pain. 2012 Aug;153(8):1593-1601. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2012.03.010. Epub 2012 Apr 13.


Chronic pain produces major functional disability and quality-of-life impairment. Monitoring of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) outcomes in chronic pain patients during treatment is of great importance. Nevertheless, monitoring individual chronic pain patients remains a challenge due to the lack of a validated and efficient HRQoL assessment instrument. The Treatment Outcomes in Pain Survey (TOPS) is a validated HRQoL tool with sufficient accuracy and sensitivity to monitor the overall pain experience of individual patients while receiving multidisciplinary chronic pain management. However, the amount of time required to complete the TOPS questionnaire limits routine clinical utility and patient compliance. The full 14 TOPS scales are not needed to monitor routine clinical outcomes. Therefore, we developed and initially validated a shortened and restructured instrument, the S-TOPS, for individual patient monitoring in multidisciplinary chronic pain treatment. The reliability and validity of the S-TOPS were analyzed using data from 964 chronic pain patients who were treated in a single interdisciplinary pain clinic and completed >1 TOPS. The 7 scales of the S-TOPS have excellent construct validity, high reliabilities, and improved sensitivity to change for monitoring individual patient outcomes. Patients accepted the S-TOPS well, finding it brief enough for routine repeated administration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / diagnosis*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Pain Measurement / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Utah / epidemiology
  • Young Adult