Objective: To develop a methodology for translating the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) into a Danish version, and to make comparisons to studies of patients speaking other languages.
Design: Finding suitable Danish adjectives using the same methodology as that in the original MPQ. Comparison of Danish descriptors to the words in the English version of MPQ. Survey in healthy subjects and patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia (F).
Setting: The general public and hospital outpatients.
Patients: A random sample of 186 healthy volunteers, 20 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 41 patients with fibromyalgia.
Main outcome measures: Danish words translated as closely as possible to the descriptors in the original McGill Pain Questionnaire. A pain-assessment instrument making international pain description possible.
Results: A Danish version of the McGill Pain Questionnaire was developed with scale values of Danish descriptors not differing more than 5 x SEM from the 'patient' words in the English version. The subdivision into classes and subclasses was respected. In the reliability experiment, the same rank values were found in 85% of subclasses. In a study using two experimental pain stimulus intensities, seven of 10 subjects obtained higher MPQ scores following the high-intensity stimulus. In the clinical study, the pain profiles of patients with RA and F in English, Italian, and Danish patients were almost the same.
Conclusion: The present methodology of translating the McGill Pain Questionnaire permits comparison of studies from English-speaking and non-English-speaking populations, thus facilitating international research exchange.