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J Nurs Meas. 2001 Winter;9(3):219-38.

Sensation and Distress of Pain Scales: reliability, validity, and sensitivity.

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Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


Psychometric properties of the Sensation and Distress of Pain Visual Analogue Scales (VAS) are compared to dual numerical rating scales (NRS) with data from a randomized controlled trial of postoperative patients. On postoperative days 1 and 2, 15-minute test-retest reliability was .73 to .82 for the VAS and slightly lower for the NRS, r = .72 to .78, while convergent validity of the scales ranged from r = .90 to .92; construct validity of sensation and distress ranged from r = .72 to .85; and discriminant validity was lower, r = .65 to .78. Both instruments were significantly associated with pain reduction following treatment, p < .05 to .01. The VAS scores were significantly lower, p < .01 to .001, and more evenly distributed than NRS scores. It is recommended that the VAS be used in research to produce continuous scores that are more suited to parametric analysis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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