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J Behav Med. 2016 Jun;39(3):537-50. doi: 10.1007/s10865-016-9720-3. Epub 2016 Feb 12.

Development of the Sensory Hypersensitivity Scale (SHS): a self-report tool for assessing sensitivity to sensory stimuli.

Author information

1
Department of Anesthesia, Division of Pain Management, Stanford University School of Medicine, 1070 Arastradero Rd., Suite 200, Palo Alto, CA, 94304, USA. eadixon@stanford.edu.
2
Department of Psychological Science, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, TX, USA.
3
Department of Anesthesia, Division of Pain Management, Stanford University School of Medicine, 1070 Arastradero Rd., Suite 200, Palo Alto, CA, 94304, USA.
4
Department of Psychology, Department of Anesthesiology and Rheumatology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA.

Abstract

Sensory hypersensitivity is one manifestation of the central sensitization that may underlie conditions such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. We conducted five studies designed to develop and validate the Sensory Hypersensitive Scale (SHS); a 25-item self-report measure of sensory hypersensitivity. The SHS assesses both general sensitivity and modality-specific sensitivity (e.g. touch, taste, and hearing). 1202 participants (157 individuals with chronic pain) completed the SHS, which demonstrated an adequate overall internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha) of 0.81, suggesting the tool can be used as a cross-modality assessment of sensitivity. SHS scores demonstrated only modest correlations (Pearson's r) with depressive symptoms (0.19) and anxiety (0.28), suggesting a low level of overlap with psychiatric complaints. Overall SHS scores showed significant but relatively modest correlations (Pearson's r) with three measures of sensory testing: cold pain tolerance (-0.34); heat pain tolerance (-0.285); heat pain threshold (-0.271). Women reported significantly higher scores on the SHS than did men, although gender-based differences were small. In a chronic pain sample, individuals with fibromyalgia syndrome demonstrated significantly higher SHS scores than did individuals with osteoarthritis or back pain. The SHS appears suitable as a screening measure for sensory hypersensitivity, though additional research is warranted to determine its suitability as a proxy for central sensitization.

KEYWORDS:

Central sensitivity; Quantitative sensory testing; Reliability; Scale development; Sensory hypersensitivity; Validity

PMID:
26873609
PMCID:
PMC4854764
DOI:
10.1007/s10865-016-9720-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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