Validity and responsiveness of the pain self-efficacy questionnaire in patients with neck pain disorders

Alessandro Chiarotto*, Deborah Falla, Andrea Polli, Marco Monticone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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STUDY DESIGN: Longitudinal clinimetric study. BACKGROUND: Pain self-efficacy predicts poor recovery and mediates the relationship between pain and disability in patients with neck pain disorders (NPDs). The Pain Self-Efficacy Questionnaire (PSEQ) is a frequently used instrument to measure pain self-efficacy; however, its measurement properties have never been evaluated in a group of patients with NPDs. OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to assess validity and responsiveness of the PSEQ in patients with NPDs. METHODS: Patients with NPDs (n = 161) were included. Confirmatory and exploratory factor analysis was used to assess structural validity. Twelve hypotheses on expected correlations with other instruments were formulated a priori to assess construct validity. Responsiveness was evaluated in 146 patients with NPDs who underwent multimodal rehabilitation by testing 12 hypotheses on expected effect sizes, area under the curve, and correlations with change in other instruments. RESULTS: Factor analyses showed that the PSEQ is a unidimensional instrument with moderate construct validity and responsiveness (50% to 75% of hypotheses met). Validity was consistent when analyzed separately for patients with whiplash-associated disorders and idiopathic neck pain, and responsiveness was better in patients with idiopathic neck pain. CONCLUSION: The PSEQ is a unidimensional measure of pain self-efficacy in patients with NPDs, as found by previous studies in other populations. Nevertheless, in contrast with previous studies, its construct validity and responsiveness were found to be suboptimal in NPDs, suggesting that the content validity of the PSEQ and of the comparator instruments used in this study should be better assessed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-216
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy
Issue number3
Early online date28 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Cervical spine
  • Factor analysis
  • Idiopathic
  • Whiplash


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