Chronic Pain

Pain Coping Inventory (PCI)

International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC)

Pain Coping Inventory (PCI)

The PCI consists of six measures (a total of 33 items), measuring behavioral and cognitive pain-coping techniques that correspond to the active and passive pain coping mechanisms in people suffering from pain conditions. Three cognitive-behavioral techniques are measured by the patient’s attempts to distract oneself from pain (distraction, five items), reinterpret and transform the pain (pain transformation, four items), and continue to function in spite of pain (active pain coping strategies) (reducing demands, three items). In order to assess behavioral inclinations to limit functioning (resting, five items), to avoid environmental stimuli (retreating, seven items), and to have catastrophic thoughts about the pain (worrying, nine items), passive pain coping reflects three cognitive-behavioral strategies.


Validity and Reliability

Test-retest reliability as expressed by Pearson’s r correlations showed the following coefficients: Pain Transformation r =.67, Distraction r =.73, Reducing Demands r =.43, Retreating r =.71, Worrying r =.82, and Resting r =.71. The results show that the PCI scales have a good degree of stability over a six-month timeframe.

In a sample of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, high levels of Retreating, Worrying, and Resting were associated with high functional disability at a 1 year follow-up. That said, only Resting was found to be predictive of high functional disability 3 years later when examining the passive pain-coping scales.


Scoring and Interpretation

Items are scored on a 4-point Likert scale, with 1 being the least frequent use of pain management measures and 4 being the most frequent. Then, the non-weighted scores of the three active and passive coping techniques can be added up to create a composite score for the active and passive coping dimensions. The PCI measures are sensitive to detecting variations in pain diagnostic groups’ use of pain-coping mechanisms.

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Jensen MP, Turner JA, Romano JM, Strom SE. The Chronic Pain Coping Inventory: development and preliminary validation. Pain. 1995 Feb;60(2):203-216. doi: 10.1016/0304-3959(94)00118-X. PMID: 7784106.

Kraaimaat FW, Evers AW. Pain-coping strategies in chronic pain patients: psychometric characteristics of the pain-coping inventory (PCI). Int J Behav Med. 2003;10(4):343-363.

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