Original Report| Volume 16, ISSUE 7, P676-681, July 2015

Psychometric Properties of the Centrality of Pain Scale

  • Benjamin J. Morasco
    Address reprint requests to Benjamin J. Morasco, PhD, Portland VA Medical Center (R&D99), 3710 SW US Veterans Hospital Road, Portland, OR 97239.
    Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care, VA Portland Health Care System, Portland, Oregon

    Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon
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  • Dennis C. Turk
    Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine and Center for Pain Research on Impact, Measurement, & Effectiveness, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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  • Christina Nicolaidis
    Regional Research Institute, School of Social Work, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon

    Department of Medicine and Public Health & Preventive Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon
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      • Study purpose was to conduct psychometric analysis of the Centrality of Pain Scale (COPS).
      • Principal components analysis revealed a single factor, and all items loaded highly.
      • COPS scores correlated with other measures of pain and mental health.
      • COPS score was independently associated with pain severity and pain interference.
      • Future research is needed to assess measure stability, psychometric characteristics in other settings, and responsiveness to change following clinical intervention.


      The Centrality of Pain Scale (COPS) is a recently developed patient-centered, 10-item self-report measure designed to assess how central, or dominating, in their lives individuals with chronic pain perceive pain to be. The COPS underwent initial development and validation previously; preliminary results suggested that the measure had excellent psychometric properties and that COPS scores were associated with important clinical factors. The purpose of the present study was to examine the psychometric properties of the COPS in a sample of individuals with mixed chronic pain diagnoses (N = 178) being treated at a U.S. Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Principal components analysis of COPS items revealed a single factor, and all items loaded highly. The COPS had high internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = .902) and was significantly correlated with other measures of pain, mental health, psychological factors associated with pain, and chronic pain coping styles, suggesting convergent and divergent validity. Hierarchical linear regression analyses indicated that COPS score was independently associated with both pain severity and interference. Future research should evaluate the generalizability of the COPS in different samples, its responsiveness to treatment, and the extent to which pain centrality may be a focus of nonpharmacologic interventions for chronic pain.


      We conducted psychometric testing of the COPS, a recently developed patient-centered self-report measure designed to examine how central or dominating pain is to a person's life. Study results indicated a reliable and valid measure, which was significantly associated with pain severity and interference, even after controlling for demographic and clinical factors.

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