An empirical evaluation of multidimensional clinical outcome in chronic low back pain patients

Academic Article


  • Individuals with persisting pain often present a constellation of symptoms that includes pain, health-related impairment and dysphoric mood. It is now widely accepted that comprehensive assessment must address each of these dimensions. Despite recognition of the value of multidimensional assessment, no empirical efforts have validated the construct of a multidimensional clinical outcome presentation based on the dimensions of pain, impairment and dysphoric mood. We employed cluster analytic procedures on standard measures of pain, impairment and depression in chronic low back pain (CLBP) patients (n = 96) attending a general orthopedic clinic in order to empirically characterize multidimensional clinical outcomes. Results indicated that 3 groups could be identified reliably: 1. (1) 'Chronic Pain Syndrome' (n = 25; high levels of pain, impairment and depression), 2. (2) 'Positive Adaptation to Pain' (n = 24; high levels of pain with low levels of impairment and depression) 3. (3) 'Good Pain Control' (n = 47; low levels of pain, impairment and depression). The reliability of this cluster solution was supported by several tests of internal consistency. Discriminability of the clusters was examined across both the outcome measures themselves and several additional independent variables. The cluster solution was then crossvalidated in an independent sample of pain clinic CLBP patients (n = 180) to test its generalizability. Finally the stability of the cluster dimensions over time was tested by re-assessing 36 CLBP patients 6 months after they initially were characterized into 1 of the 3 outcome groups on the same measures. MANOVA results indicated that the outcome groups were differentiated statistically across assessments. The multiple outcome measures did not change significantly across time, nor did the outcome groups change differentially across time on these measures. We conclude that the outcome dimensions of pain, impairment and depression are relatively stable phenomena that differentially describe CLBP patients. © 1993.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • PAIN  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 13477180
  • Author List

  • Klapow JC; Slater MA; Patterson TL; Doctor JN; Atkinson JH; Garfin SR
  • Start Page

  • 107
  • End Page

  • 118
  • Volume

  • 55
  • Issue

  • 1