Comparative Ability of the Pain Disability Questionnaire in Predicting Health Outcomes and Healthcare Costs



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Given the tremendous personal and societal costs of chronic pain, efforts at improving pain conceptualization via the Biopsychosocial Model have become critical in addressing pain-related health outcomes and healthcare costs. The current study consisted of 254 (Average age= 49.72, SD= 14.55) adult chronic pain patients seeking treatment through an interdisciplinary chronic pain management clinic. Participants were administered a battery of assessments including the Pain Disability Questionnaire and other established measures of health and pain-related outcomes (e.g., SF-36, PROMIS pain-related measures) at baseline and post-treatment time points. Convergent validity was observed between the Pain Disability Questionnaire and other study measures. Hierarchical regression analyses demonstrated significant associations between pain-related disability as measured by the Pain Disability Questionnaire and a range of health and psychosocial outcomes. Pain Disability Questionnaire scores, as placed in categorical severity levels, demonstrated good discriminative abilities in terms of predicting health outcomes profiles. Further, logistic regression models established that the Pain Disability Questionnaire provided good predictive validity in terms of healthcare cost categorization at three month follow-up. These findings support the clinical use of the Pain Disability Questionnaire as an equivalent, and in some cases superior, empirically supported predictor of health-related outcomes as compared with other established measures of pain and health outcomes. Additionally, initial evaluation of the Pain Disability Questionnaire’s predictive utility in terms of pain-related healthcare costs displayed significant predictive abilities. Overall, these findings suggest that the Pain Disability Questionnaire is a valuable tool in efforts to understand and manage chronic pain as well as predict associated healthcare costs for chronic pain patients.

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