Development of a self-report screening instrument for assessing potential opioid medication misuse in chronic pain patients

Laura L. Adams, Robert J. Gatchel, Richard C. Robinson, Peter Polatin, Noor Gajraj, Martin Deschner, Carl Noe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

186 Scopus citations


This study constituted the first step in the psychometric development of a self-report screening instrument for risk of opioid medication misuse among chronic pain patients. A 26-item instrument, the Pain Medication Questionnaire (PMQ), was constructed based on suspected behavioral correlates of opioid medication misuse, which heretofore have received limited empirical investigation. The PMQ was administered to 184 patients at an interdisciplinary pain treatment center. Reliability coefficients for the PMQ were found to be of moderate but acceptable strength. Construct and concurrent validity were examined through correlation of PMQ scores to measures of substance abuse, physical and psychological functioning, and physicians' risk assessments. To explore high and low cutoff points for misuse risk, subgroups were formed according to the upper and lower thirds of PMQ scores and compared on validity measures. Higher PMQ scores were associated with history of substance abuse, higher levels of psychosocial distress, and poorer functioning. Future psychometric analyses will consider predictive validity and examine shortened versions of the instrument.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)440-459
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Chronic pain
  • Pain Medication Questionnaire
  • interdisciplinary treatment
  • opioid medication misuse
  • psychometric properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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