Clinical applications of visual analogue scales: a critical review

Psychol Med. 1988 Nov;18(4):1007-19. doi: 10.1017/s0033291700009934.


Visual Analogue Scales (VAS) provide a simple technique for measuring subjective experience. They have been established as valid and reliable in a range of clinical and research applications, although there is also evidence of increased error and decreased sensitivity when used with some subject groups. Decisions concerned with the choice of scoring interval, experimental design, and statistical analysis for VAS have in some instances been based on convention, assumption and convenience, highlighting the need for more comprehensive assessment of individual scales if this versatile and sensitive measurement technique is to be used to full advantage.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Pain Measurement
  • Psychological Tests*