Predicting risk for opioid misuse in chronic pain with a single-item measure of catastrophic thinking

Academic Article


  • Background: Chronic pain patients are frequently treated with opioid medications in primary care, where brief measures of risk for opioid misuse have great utility. Catastrophic thinking is a clinically relevant and potentially modifiable factor associated with several chronic pain outcomes, including risk for opioid misuse. This study examined the utility of a single-item measure of pain-related catastrophizing in predicting risk of opioid misuse. Method: 119 chronic pain patients completed the Coping Strategies Questionnaire catastrophizing item, Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS), and Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients with Pain- Revised (SOAPP-R). Area under the receiver operator curve (AUC) and linear regression were used to examine predictive utility of the catastrophizing item. Results: The catastrophizing item demonstrated a fair ability to discriminate those with high risk for opioid misuse on the SOAPP-R (AUC = 0.74), whereas the PCS demonstrated good discrimination (AUC = 0.85). The single item alone accounted for 30% of variance in SOAPP-R scores. Conclusion: A single question assessing pain catastrophizing has utility for predicting risk for opioid misuse. In addition, it provides the primary care provider with information on a potentially modifiable risk factor that can be addressed within the context of a brief clinical visit.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Lutz J; Gross R; Long D; Cox S
  • Start Page

  • 828
  • End Page

  • 831
  • Volume

  • 30
  • Issue

  • 6