ATLANTA, Ga-A group of mainly low-income African-American cancer
patients had no difficulty completing a multidimensional pain
measure, and among the unidimensional measures tested, preferred
a faces scale, Deborah B. McGuire, PhD, RN, told Oncology News
International at her poster presentation at the 8th World Congress
Dr. McGuire, who holds the Edith Folsom Honeycutt Chair in Oncology
Nursing at Emory University, said that previous work in African-American
populations with low literacy rates had shown some confusion with
two items on the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) relating to "usual
pain" and "pain relief."
Thus, she and her colleagues, Drs. Ora Strickland and Melvin Moore,
tested a modified version of the BPI along with three pain intensity
scales (a pain affect faces scale, a numerical pain intensity
scale, and a verbal descriptor pain intensity scale).
The sample consisted of 110 adult male and female ambulatory cancer
patients at a large inner city public institution; 78% of the
subjects were African-American. All patients completed the four
pain measures and a post-administration questionnaire.
"We found that the BPI with the revised items was psychometrically
sound, reliable, and valid in this population," Dr. McGuire
said. She noted that the test is written at approximately a sixth
grade reading level, "so patients found it easy to read,
understand, and complete, and overall found it very acceptable."
Interestingly, she said, when asked about the three pain intensity
scales, the majority of patients (59%) found the faces scale easiest
to understand, and it was the most preferred scale (47%). The
researchers used a 6-face version adapted from a 9-face instrument
developed for use in pediatrics.
The investigators concluded that good multidimensional measurement
of pain is possible in low-income African-Americans using existing