The Neurophysiology of Pain Questionnaire (NPQ) was devised to assess how an individual conceptualizes the biological mechanisms that underpin his or her pain. Despite its widespread use, its psychometric properties have not been comprehensively interrogated. Rasch analysis was undertaken on NPQ data from a convenience sample of 300 spinal pain patients, and test-retest reliability was assessed in a sample of 45 low back pain patients. The NPQ effectively targeted the ability of the sample and had acceptable internal consistency and test-retest reliability. However, some items functioned erratically for persons of differing abilities or were psychometrically redundant. The NPQ was reanalyzed with 7 questionable items excluded, and superior psychometric properties were observed. These findings suggest that the NPQ could be improved, but future prospective studies including qualitative measures are needed. In summary, the NPQ is a useful tool for assessing a patient's conceptualization of the biological mechanisms that underpin his or her pain and for evaluating the effects of cognitive interventions in clinical practice and research. These findings suggest that it has adequate psychometric properties for use with chronic spinal pain patients.
Perspective: Rasch analysis was used to analyze the NPQ. Despite several limitations, these results suggest that it is a useful tool with which to assess a patient's conceptualization of the biological mechanisms that underpin his or her pain and to evaluate the effects of cognitive interventions in clinical practice and research.
Keywords: Chronic pain; neurophysiology; pain education; pain knowledge; pain reconceptualization.
Copyright © 2013 American Pain Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.