The influence of physical and psychosocial factors on accuracy of memory for pain in chronic pain patients.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Pain patients' retrospective reports of pain are important to physicians and other health professionals in helping to decide on future treatment plans. Unfortunately patients' memory of pain can be inaccurate and subject to overestimation. This study examined variables which influenced accuracy of remembering pain in 93 chronic pain patients. The patients were initially evaluated by a physician and completed a comprehensive pain questionnaire and an SCL-90. All patients were asked to monitor their pain intensity every hour for 1 week. At the end of this period each patient was asked to estimate their average pain intensity ratings for 4 times during the day for the previous week. These estimations were compared with the actual mean pain ratings. Results showed that most patients tended to overestimate their pain intensity levels. Cervical and low back pain patients were found to be more accurate than headache and abdominal pain patients in remembering their pain. Patients who reported more emotional distress, who had conflicts at home, who were less active and who relied on medication tended to be the most inaccurate in remembering their pain.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Jamison, RN; Sbrocco, T; Parris, WCV

Published Date

  • June 1989

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 37 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 289 - 294

PubMed ID

  • 2755710

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0304-3959

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/0304-3959(89)90193-0


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States