There are large individual differences in pain perception, and pain responsiveness or pain sensitivity is a potentially useful construct for understanding individual variability in the experience of pain. Recently, the Pain Sensitivity Questionnaire (PSQ) has been developed as a simple and economical alternative to more time-consuming experimental testing methods that involve expensive equipment. This project further investigated aspects of the psychometric properties of the PSQ. 539 undergraduate students (72% females, age M = 21.3 +/- 3.7 yrs) completed a variety of self-report instruments assessing emotional functioning (depression, anxiety, perceived stress), personality traits (e.g., neuroticism, optimism, anxiety sensitivity), pain per se (e.g., Short Form-McGill Pain Questionnaire-2), and other potentially relevant pain-related measures (e.g., Pain Catastrophizing Scale, Pain Anxiety Symptoms Scale-20, Fear of Pain Questionnaire-Short Form, Illness/Injury Sensitivity Index). PSQ Total scores correlated significantly with anxiety sensitivity, illness/injury sensitivity, pain anxiety symptoms, specific fears associated with pain, and pain catastrophizing, but not depression, anxiety, or perceived stress scores, or personality traits of neuroticism or optimism. Regression analyses testing various models suggested the PSQ sometimes adds a modest amount of prediction to pain intensity ratings above and beyond other established correlates (e.g., anxiety sensitivity), but is often eclipsed in predictive contributions by certain pain-specific measures such as pain catastrophizing and pain-related anxiety and fear symptoms. PSQ scores appear to be relatively independent of personality traits of neuroticism and optimism, as well as specific general affective/mood states. On the other hand, PSQ scores appear to be significantly associated with pain catastrophizing, and pain anxiety and fear scores. Additional research in both clinical and healthy control samples is needed to further establish the unique contribution of pain sensitivity as measured by the PSQ for the prediction of pain outcomes relative to other established predictors.
© 2013 Published by Elsevier Inc.