Extensive Validation of the Pain Disability Index in 3 Groups of Patients With Musculoskeletal Pain

Remko Soer*, Albere J. A. Koke, Patrick C. A. J. Vroomen, Patrick Stegeman, Rob J. E. M. Smeets, Maarten H. Coppes, Michiel F. Reneman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Study Design. A cross-sectional study design was performed. Objective. To validate the pain disability index (PDI) extensively in 3 groups of patients with musculoskeletal pain. Summary of Background Data. The PDI is a widely used and studied instrument for disability related to various pain syndromes, although there is conflicting evidence concerning factor structure, test-retest reliability, and missing items. Additionally, an official translation of the Dutch language version has never been performed. Methods. For reliability, internal consistency, factor structure, test-retest reliability and measurement error were calculated. Validity was tested with hypothesized correlations with pain intensity, kinesiophobia, Rand-36 subscales, Depression, Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire, Quality of Life, and Work Status. Structural validity was tested with independent backward translation and approval from the original authors. Results. One hundred seventy-eight patients with acute back pain, 425 patients with chronic low back pain and 365 with widespread pain were included. Internal consistency of the PDI was good. One factor was identified with factor analyses. Test-retest reliability was good for the PDI (intraclass correlation coefficient, 0.76). Standard error of measurement was 6.5 points and smallest detectable change was 17.9 points. Little correlations between the PDI were observed with kinesiophobia and depression, fair correlations with pain intensity, work status, and vitality and moderate correlations with the Rand-36 subscales and the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire. Conclusion. The PDI-Dutch language version is internally consistent as a 1-factor structure, and test-retest reliable. Missing items seem high in sexual and professional items. Using the PDI as a 2-factor questionnaire has no additional value and is unreliable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E562-E568
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2013


  • chronic pain
  • fibromyalgia
  • validity
  • reliability
  • acute pain
  • spine
  • disability measurement
  • health measurement scale
  • translation

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