Evidence from diverse clinical populations supported clinical validity of PROMIS pain interference and pain behavior

J Clin Epidemiol. 2016 May;73:103-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2015.08.035. Epub 2016 Feb 27.


Objective: To evaluate clinical validity, including responsiveness, of Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) pain interference (PROMIS-PI) and pain behavior (PROMIS-PB) T-scores.

Study design and setting: Data were aggregated from longitudinal studies of cancer, chronic low back pain (cLBP), rheumatoid arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and major depressive disorder (MDD). Linear mixed-effects models were used to compare baseline score differences and score changes over time. We calculated standardized response means (SRMs) for subgroups defined by self-reported change in general health and pain.

Results: A total of 1,357 individuals participated at baseline and 1,225 at follow-up. Hypotheses of significant change in PROMIS-PI and PROMIS-PB scores were supported in the intervention groups (cLBP and MDD). Differences in baseline scores for COPD exacerbators compared to stable COPD patients were in the hypothesized direction but were not statistically significant. Subgroups reporting better health showed corresponding negative SRM values supporting responsiveness of T-scores to improvement. Responsiveness to decrements was supported in some but not all clinical groups and varied by anchor. More congruent values were obtained when using a pain-specific anchor.

Conclusion: This study provides evidence that PROMIS-PI and PROMIS-PB scores are sensitive to changes in pain in studies of interventions expected to impact pain. The results inform estimation of meaningful change and support power analyses for comparative effectiveness research.

Keywords: Back pain; Cancer; Chronic pain; PROMIS; Pain behavior; Pain interference.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Chronic Pain / diagnosis*
  • Chronic Pain / epidemiology
  • Chronic Pain / psychology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Comparative Effectiveness Research
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Pain Measurement / psychology
  • Pain Measurement / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Report
  • Social Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult