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J Psychiatr Res. 2011 Nov;45(11):1504-10. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2011.06.011. Epub 2011 Aug 9.

Assessment of psychological pain in major depressive episodes.

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  • 1Applied Innovative Psychiatry, Los Alamitos, CA, USA.


Severe psychological or mental pain is defined as an experience of unbearable torment which can be associated with a psychiatric illness (e.g., major depressive disorder) or a tragic loss such as the death of a child. A brief self-rating scale (Mee-Bunney Psychological Pain Assessment Scale [MBPPAS]) was developed to assess the intensity of psychological pain. The scale was used to measure psychological pain in 73 major depressive episode (MDE) patients and 96 non-psychiatric controls. In addition to the MBPPAS, all subjects completed four additional instruments: Suicidal Behavior Questionnaire (SBQ), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS), and the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI). Known-groups, content and convergent validity, and internal reliability of the scale were established. MDE and control subjects were ranked according to MBPPAS scores. A threshold was set at 32 representing 0.5 SD above the mean for MDEs. MDE subjects above the threshold of 32 had significantly higher SBQ scores than those below. A significant linear correlation between psychological pain and SBQ suicidality scores was observed. This is the first study to contrast psychological pain in controls and patients with MDE. Our results suggest that psychological pain is a useful and unique construct in patients with MDE that can be reliably assessed and may aid in the evaluation of suicidal risk.

Published by Elsevier Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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