Efficient Screening for Fear of Movement in Outpatient Settings: Short Form and Computer Adaptive Tests for Fear Avoidance and Negative Pain Coping

Trevor A. Lentz*, Michael A. Kallen, Daniel Deutscher, Steven Z. George

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study was to develop screening measures using item response theory (IRT) for 2 factors highly relevant to fear of movement (FoM): fear avoidance and negative pain coping. Methods: A total of 431 patients with neck (n = 93), shoulder (n = 108), low back (n = 119), or knee (n = 111) conditions seeking physical therapy completed 8 validated psychological questionnaires measuring fear avoidance and negative pain coping, resulting in 97 candidate items for IRT analysis. Unidimensionality and local independence were assessed using exploratory factor analyses followed by confirmatory factor analyses. Items were assessed for model fit to the graded response model for ordinal items. Using the final item bank, a computer adaptive test (CAT) administration mode was constructed, and reduced item sets were selected to create short forms (SFs), including items with highest information (reliability) at the different levels of the trait being measured while also considering clinical content. Results: The results supported a 28-item bank for fear avoidance and 16-item bank for negative pain coping. A 10-item and 8-item SF were developed for fear avoidance and negative pain coping, respectively. Additionally, 4-item form versions were created to provide options with lower administrative burden. CAT administration used a mean (median) of 7.7 (8) and 7.0 (7) items for fear avoidance and negative pain coping, respectively. All factors demonstrated construct validity by discriminating patient groups in expected clinical patterns. Conclusion: These newly derived SFs and CAT administration modes provide reliable, valid, and efficient options to screen for fear avoidance and negative pain coping in populations with musculoskeletal pain. Impact: These tools, collectively referred to as the Screening for Pain Vulnerability and Resilience tools, address a critical need for standard FoM screening processes that aid in clinical decision-making to identify who might benefit from psychologically informed approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberpzab256
JournalPhysical therapy
Volume102
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Keywords

  • Musculoskeletal Pain
  • Psychological
  • Rehabilitation
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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