Initial validation of a modified version of the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ) in a general chronic pain population

      The original Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ) consists of 24 statements describing activity limitations stemming from back pain specifically, such as self-care and physical limitations. The RMDQ has shown good reliability and has also been utilized in languages other than English. An issue in many chronic pain clinics is that all types of pain from various anatomical structures are being treated, such as knee pain, wrist pain, etc., which raises the question of the ecological validity of the RMDQ when used with individuals suffering from chronic pain other than back pain. The current study examines the validity of a modified form of the RMDQ compared to the original version in individuals attending a multidisciplinary pain management clinic for chronic pain. Development of an instrument that can validly assess activity limitations due to chronic pain of various origins, not just back pain, is necessary in order to accurately assess the impact that an individual’s pain has on their functioning. Subjects were referrals for chronic pain management treatment with predominately low-back pain (62%) and a typical mix of other pain sites. Fifty sequential evaluations for admission into the interdisciplinary chronic pain management program were alternatively given the ORIGINAL or the MODIFIED RMDQ. Fifty sequential discharges from the 20-day interdisciplinary treatment were also alternatively given either version. A 2X2 ANOVA revealed a statistically significant PRE/POST reduction on both the ORIGINAL/MODIFIED versions (less self-rated disability). There were no significant mean differences between the two versions at either sample time nor was the interaction effect significant. The current investigation provides initial validation of a modified version of the RMDQ for a typical mix of individual referred to and participating in interdisciplinary pain management treatment. It is believed that such a modification allows more universal access to this type of self-reported disability questionnaire.