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Assessing individual differences in attention to pain: psychometric properties of the Pain Vigilance and Awareness Questionnaire modified for a non-clinical pain sample

Personality and Individual Differences
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0191-8869(00)00132-x
  • Pain
  • Pvaq
  • Attention
  • Principal-Components Analysis


Abstract Recently proposed models [e.g. Eccleston, C., & Crombez, G. (1999). Pain demands attention: a cognitive-affective model of the interruptive function of pain. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 356–366; McCracken, L.M. (1997). Attention to pain in persons with chronic pain: a behavioural approach. Behaviour Therapy, 28, 271–284)] implicating attention to pain as an important factor in the development of chronic pain highlight the need for a self-report measure that assesses the tendency to attend to pain. The Pain Vigilance and Awareness Questionnaire (PVAQ; McCracken, 1997) is a potentially useful measure of pain-related attention. However, its present wording precludes its use with non-clinical samples and its psychometric properties have not been examined in samples other than chronic low back pain. In the present study, the factor structure and psychometric properties of the PVAQ modified for use with a non-chronic pain sample were evaluated. A series of principal-components analyses supported a hierarchical solution comprised of three lower-order factors (viz. Awareness of Change, Intrusion, and Monitoring) and a single higher-order pain vigilance and attention factor. Cronbach's alphas indicated that the PVAQ total scale and the three subscales identified in the principal-components analysis had excellent to adequate internal consistency. Supportive of the validity of the PVAQ, significant positive associations between PVAQ scores and important pain variables (viz., pain severity ratings and change/restriction in lifestyle) were found. Potential applications of the modified PVAQ as well as directions for further psychometric evaluation are discussed.

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