Author(s): Robinson ME, Myers CD, Sadler IJ, Riley JL rd, Kvaal SA,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: Past research has shown response biases to influence the accuracy of results from self-report measures. In pain assessment, where a percentage of patients have financial and other reasons to minimize or exaggerate psychological disturbance, it becomes especially important to identify the influence of response bias in self-report of adjustment. This study investigated the susceptibility of three commonly used self-report pain assessment measures to response bias. DESIGN: This study used a within-subjects (asymptomatic subjects) design with two experimental conditions and nonequivalent control group (chronic pain patients). SUBJECTS: Experimental group: 40 students enrolled in an occupational therapy program at a major southeastern United States university. CONTROL GROUP: 200 subjects referred to a multidisciplinary pain clinic at a major teaching hospital. MEASURES: Coping Strategies Questionnaire, Multidimensional Pain Inventory, and Pain Beliefs and Perceptions Inventory. RESULTS: With few exceptions, asymptomatic subjects scored significantly differently on these measures while portraying themselves as either coping well or coping poorly. In addition, when using the "coping poorly" response set, asymptomatic subjects reproduced scores similar to those of symptomatic chronic pain patients. CONCLUSION: The susceptibility to manipulation appeared constant across the three measures, a finding that highlighted the difficulties clinicians and researchers encounter in accurate interpretation of results from these measures in the absence of validity indicators. This study also emphasizes the ease with which subjects with sufficient motivation can present themselves in an untruthful and manipulative manner and can generate scores that are, on their own, difficult to distinguish from those of a group of typical chronic pain patients.
This article was published in Clin J Pain
and referenced in Abnormal and Behavioural Psychology
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