Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis of the PROMIS pain quality item bank

Qual Life Res. 2014 Feb;23(1):245-55. doi: 10.1007/s11136-013-0467-9. Epub 2013 Jul 9.


Purpose: The assessment of pain sensation and quality is a key component in understanding the experience of individuals with chronic pain. This study evaluated the factor structure of the patient-reported outcome measurement information system (PROMIS) pain quality item bank.

Methods: As part of the PROMIS project, we developed a pool of 37 pain quality items, based on a review of existing pain questionnaires and development of new items. A web-based survey was designed and completed by 845 members of the general population and 967 individuals with different types of chronic pain. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted on a random split-half sample of the data to examine the factor structure of the 37 PROMIS pain quality items in the general population and in a chronic pain sample. A confirmatory factor analysis was conducted in the holdout sample.

Results: The EFA of the pain quality items resulted in comparable six-factor solutions for the general and chronic pain samples: (1) pulling/tugging pain; (2) tingling/numbness pain; (3) sharp/stabbing pain; (4) dull/aching pain; (5) pounding/pulsing pain; and (6) affective pain. The confirmatory factor analysis in the holdout sample supported this factor structure.

Conclusions: Further research is needed to evaluate the psychometric characteristics of the derived scales based on their factor scores.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Factor Analysis, Statistical*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Information Systems*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods*
  • Pain / classification
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life*
  • Societies, Medical
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States