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Psychol Health. 2013;28(1):84-102. doi: 10.1080/08870446.2012.714782. Epub 2012 Aug 15.

Musculoskeletal pain illness perceptions: factor structure of the Illness Perceptions Questionnaire-Revised.

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  • 1Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre, Primary Care Sciences, Keele University, Staffordshire, UK.



The Revised Illness Perceptions Questionnaire (IPQ-R) is commonly used to measure illness perceptions. We tested whether the structure of the IPQ-R was appropriate for use with primary care musculoskeletal pain patients.


Confirmatory (C) and exploratory (E) factor analyses (FA) were used to test whether the structure of the IPQ-R was supported for patients with knee pain (n = 393), hand pain (n = 2113) and back pain (n = 1591). CFA was used to test whether the timeline acute/chronic, timeline cyclical, consequences, personal control, treatment control, illness coherence and emotional representation dimensions of the IPQ-R were distinct; EFA was used to explore potential structure for patients' views on the cause of their condition.


Goodness-of-fit indices for the CFA were below our criteria for good model fit. Removal of six items from the model improved model fit, but our criteria for good model fit was still not achieved. An interpretable factor solution could not be determined for the causal items on the questionnaire.


Our data show limited evidence that the seven dimensions of the IPQ-R are distinct. A clear structure for the causal items was not determined. Further work is needed to develop the IPQ-R for use with primary care musculoskeletal pain patients.

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