The complexity of chronic pain has represented a major dilemma for clinical researchers interested in the reliable and valid assessment of the problem and the evaluation of treatment approaches. The West Haven-Yale Multidimensional Pain Inventory (WHYMPI) was developed in order to fill a widely recognized void in the assessment of clinical pain. Assets of the inventory are its brevity and clarity, its foundation in contemporary psychological theory, its multidimensional focus, and its strong psychometric properties. Three parts of the inventory, comprised of 12 scales, examine the impact of pain on the patients' lives, the responses of others to the patients' communications of pain, and the extent to which patients participate in common daily activities. The instrument is recommended for use in conjunction with behavioral and psychophysiological assessment strategies in the evaluation of chronic pain patients in clinical settings. The utility of the WHYMPI in empirical investigations of chronic pain is also discussed.